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B.C. bats need a hand, but don’t touch them

Populations in decline for the bug-eating mammal that can spread rabies
While small in size, bug-eating bats have a big impact on ecosystems. (Wild ARC/Facebook)

Long associated with the spookiest of holidays, no one should be surprised bat week ends Oct. 31.

B.C. bats are among the smallest of the 1,300 different species found around the world, according to the BC SPCA. Of the 16 species in the province, common ones admitted to the SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre each year include long-eared myotis, the little brown myotis, the California myotis, and the big brown bat. While they’re small in stature, the bug-eaters have a big impact on ecosystems. The only mammal that can fly, the critters use echolocation to find and eat their body weight in insects each night.

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They help control insect populations and cycle nutrients through different environments but habitat loss due to urbanization and depredation from domestic animals are causing bat populations to decrease, the Metchosin-based centre said in a release.

Anyone who finds an injured bat can call 1-855-622-7722 for advice on safely containing it and finding a wildlife centre.

Bats should never be touched as they can carry rabies which can spread through just a drop of saliva.

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About the Author: Oak Bay News Staff

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