Summer is here, and with it comes camping and other activities that involve travelling inter-provincially or perhaps down into the United States. While you want to take the experience home with you, that should not include accidentally packing up a bat!
Alberta is home to at least nine species of bats and while they are really handy to have around when the insects are buzzing, you don’t want to take one home with you. Bats can be accidental stowaways in camping gear, roosting in closed umbrellas, camper awnings, and other nooks on trailers and vehicles. If no one notices a bat hanging out, it can inadvertently take a ride hundreds or thousands of kilometres from home.
The primary reason to avoid transporting bats is to prevent the spread of disease that is deadly to bats. White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is caused by a fungus found in caves, and has killed millions of hibernating bats in eastern North America. WNS is getting closer to Alberta; it is now in Washington. Scientists suspect that an infected bat from eastern North American was accidently transported by a vehicle to Washington.
If you find a bat, keep children and pets away from it. Like most wildlife, bats will bite if they are handled.
If you need to move a bat, there are a few considerations:
To report a stowaway bat, or learn more about Alberta’s bats, contact or visit:
We all need to work together to help prevent accidental transportation of a bat from a WNS infected area to Alberta. Railway workers and truck drivers are also being asked to be doubly vigilant while inspecting trailers and shipping containers. Although WNS has not been detected in British Columbia, it is likely that it could spread there soon. The longer we can keep WNS out of Alberta, the longer we can protect our vulnerable bat populations.