Monday June 10, 2024.

Co-Existing with Bats in Las Catalinas 


Bats are the only flying mammal in the world. With Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity, it is no surprise that we find them in Las Catalinas too. They feed on fruits, nectar, and in some cases, leaves. They are distinguished by their ability to navigate at night using a system of sound vibrations called echolocation.  


There are many different kinds of bats; Insectivores, that feed on insects, frugivores that feed on fruits, nectarivores that feed on nectar, carnivores that eat mice and frogs, Ichthyophages that eat fish, and even Hematophages that feed on the blood of animals. In Las Catalinas, we mostly find bats that feed on insects and fruits. 


Why are Bats Important? 

Bats help control pests and biological agents. They are the main predators of nocturnal insects, including mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever and moths. 

Bats are also pollinators, collecting pollen and transporting it. Additionally, they help in seed dispersal. Their droppings are also used as fertilizer because they accelerate flower-ing, ripening, and root structure development in plants. 


How do I Know if There are Bats in my House? 


  • Appearance of black or brown stains on the ceilings.
  • Stained walls
  • Strong, ammonia-like odors
  • Large amounts of black droppings on the door


How do Bats Enter my Home? 


  • Cracks and fissures in the exterior walls or ceiling
  • Gaps around windows and doors that are not properly sealed
  • Holes in the ceiling. It is important to check the terracotta tiles often
  • Open windows without protection or with broken screens
  • Unprotected ventilation ducts or chimneys
  • Spaces under eaves or in cornices


What to Do if you Find a Bat 

Bats will enter your home in search of insects that are attracted by light. The most effective way to keep bats out of your home is to keep the insects out. 


Close the doors and windows that lead to other rooms, open those that lead out-side. Turn off the lights, leave the room, and wait for the bat to find its own way out. If you keep the lights on and chase the bat to help it exit, it will keep flying away and tire quickly, eventually hanging on somewhere.  


If you find a bat that's fallen to the ground, it may not fly away immediately, especially if it's an insect-eating species. These bats typically need at least 2 meters of height to glide effectively. To help a grounded bat, use thick leather gloves to handle it safely. Then, place the bat in a high location where it can hold on and take flight. 


Alternatively, you can use a box to gently trap the bat. Once the bat is safely contained, leave the box outside. The bat will likely fly away on its own once it feels safe and ready. 

By following these steps, you can assist a grounded bat and help it return to its natural habitat. 


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Bats are great for our ecosystem, and Las Catalinas is as much their home as yours.