Cool bat information here.

October 31, 2014 at 11:30 AM Leave a comment

Scared of Chicago’s Seven Species of Bats? Don’t Be, Researchers Say
By Justin Breen on October 31, 2014 5:25am | Updated October 31, 2014 5:36am
Slideshow There are seven species of bats in the Chicago area, according to research conducted by the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute. Bats in Chicago
LINCOLN PARK — The seven species of bats flying all over Chicago should be appreciated, not feared, according to an expert who studies them.

“People are scared of bats because there’s something flying over their head and they’re out at night, but it’s not something they should be worried about,” said Patrick Wolff, part of a group of Urban Wildlife Institute researchers monitoring bats’ whereabouts in the city and its outskirts.

The institute, which is affiliated with Lincoln Park Zoo, has discovered seven bat species within city limits: The big brown bat; little brown bat; silver-haired bat; eastern red bat; hoary bat; evening bat; and tri-colored bat. The largest of the bunch is the big brown bat, which can weigh up to 21 grams, which is about ¾ ounce, Wolff said.

Justin Breen says not to fear bats, as it’s extremely unlikely they’re carrying rabies:

Wolff said it’s good news the bats are in Chicago, in part because they can eat more than half their body weight of insects in just one night. That’s also one of the bullet points of the current National Bat Week, which focuses “the public’s attention on the value of bats and the conservation challenges they face.”

Wolff said the bats’ calls are tracked with 18 high-frequency-microphone SonoBat devices, including ones located in near Lincoln Park Zoo, Edgebrook and near O’Hare Airport. The bats can be found throughout the city, but they prefer forest preserves and golf courses, Wolff said.

“But they could definitely be in old churches or barns or attics — anywhere they can find a space and not be disturbed,” said Wolff, of Dunning, who noted a bat tracker set up in Pilsen in August found bats there. A monitor on Northerly Island and near the zoo’s Nature Boardwalk are planned for this spring, he said.

Wolff, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois, said determining an exact number of bats in the area is difficult because the tracking software can’t differentiate between individual bats, but there could be several thousand. Numbers nationally have been on the decline due to a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome, which first appeared in New York in 2006 and made its way to southern Illinois early last year.

A big brown bat, which can weigh up to 21 grams. A big brown bat, which can weigh up to 21 grams. View Full Caption Ann Froschauer/USFWS
He said the major fear people have of bats is they could be bitten and infected with rabies. According to a Centers for Disease Control study, only six percent of bats have rabies, and only 1-2 people contract rabies through contact with a bat in the U.S. each year.

“There have been, very, very, very low incidences of rabies in the country in general, let alone specifically transmitted from bats to humans,” Wolff said.






Entry filed under: Green Information, Nature Notes.

THE RIGHT WAY TO PLANT. A 50¢ PLANT IN A $5 HOLE. The city will start collecting bagged leaves this week!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 76 other followers

%d bloggers like this: