The bats that spend their nights snuffling out pests in your garden or backyard are truly amazing creatures. During the day, they are active hunters, drinkers and flyers. However, when the sun goes down, they are ready to settle into their roosts. These roosts are dark, warm and secluded.
Bats like to roost in tight spaces up high. They want to be tucked away and out of reach from larger predators. They are also able to sleep upside down because of an incredible evolutionary advantage. Just as the tendons in our hands allow us to clench a baseball, bats’ talons have evolved to lock into place when they are ready to call it a night.
In warm climates, female bats gather in maternity roosts to nurse and raise their young. These maternity roosts offer warmth, security and protection from predators until the babies can fly on their own at about 6 weeks old.
Male bats and nonpregnant females roost in a variety of places including trees, caves, rock crevices and the attics, chimneys and basements of man-made structures. During the winter, bats will enter hibernation to preserve their energy and fat reserves. Hibernation roosts are usually underground caves but bats will also use mines and abandoned buildings as a refuge.
If you’d like to encourage bats to hang out in your yard, try installing a Bat House. These houses can be purchased or made and should have a landing platform that is about two feet tall and 14 or more inches wide. They can be single or multi-chambered, but they should be caulked during construction to help keep the bats dry and comfortable.