News Releases

April 25, 2011

Bats in Need of Assistance from Vermont Homeowners

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is asking Vermont homeowners to give special considerations in dealing with bats at their residences this summer.

Populations of the once common little brown bat that is typically found in buildings have plummeted due to a disease known as White-nose Syndrome. As the bats return to their summer colonies this month, the department asks that homeowners consider methods to address conflicts with these animals that do not harm the bats.

“The bats that have survived the disease are now leaving caves and mines and migrating to their summer range,” said Scott Darling, the department’s bat expert. “The females return to their maternity colony sites to give birth and raise their young. In the case of the little brown bat, these maternity colonies are usually in an attic, barn, or under roof shingles.”

Populations of the little brown bat have been reduced so greatly that homeowners may want to wait and see how many bats they have left in their residence before removing them. “The numbers of bats present may be so low that the concerns people once had may now be insignificant,” said Darling.

“People should continue to respond to potential rabies exposures by contacting the Rabies Hotline (1-800-4RABIES). However, when no exposure has occurred, if you are considering removing or excluding bats from a building, please try to use methods that will not harm the animals.”

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is currently in the process of listing the little brown bat and the northern long-eared bat as state endangered because of the loss of an estimated 90 of the populations of these two species in the three years since the disease was first diagnosed in Vermont. As part of the listing proposal, approaches are being evaluated that will maintain the ability of homeowners to properly respond when a rabies exposure risk has occurred.

The little brown bat is one of two species of bats often found in houses and barns. The other is the big brown bat which is also impacted by White-nose Syndrome, but to a lesser degree.

Darling encourages Vermonters interested in information on addressing bats in your living quarters or in your residence to visit the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) to download the pamphlet Bats in Your House.

Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife
Last Updated at: April 25, 2011 16:10:39