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Build a Bat House

August 6, 2011

Looking for that perfect weekend build project? How about building a safe and cozy home for a protected species? There are many guides out there to building a sweet little bat home, though my favorite is this helpful guide from the National Wildlife Foundation with photos and step by step instructions.

I’ve been watching a lot of Billy the Exterminator lately (it’s stream-able on Netflix). Due to my phobia of insects and spiders, some of it is pretty cringe worthy. But some of the other kinds of animals (beavers, raccoons, bobcats) are actually pretty cute. My favorite are the bats. They probably creep people out but I think they are kind of adorable.

The little brown bat is one of the most common bats in North America (and one of the cutest!) Diseases as well as human constructions have been challenging for local populations. This is why organizations like the NWF, the National Parks, conservation groups, and the USGS all promote building a bat home on your property.

Why house bats on your property? Just because they are threatened? Of course not. In addition to being (in my humble opinion) adorable, they can eat half their body weight (or half of 14 grams) a night in moths, wasps, gnats, beetles, and they even prefer the tasty little mosquito. What’s not to like! They like congregating in small spaces as they prefer 80 – 100 degree (F) temps and like to use each others body heat to stay toasty, especially at night. But really they had me at “eat bugs”. Unfortunately, my terrifying and irrational fear of insects means I’d never build a box as it’s just as likely to become wasp infested or termite food in this area. But who knows, the little bats are super cute! Plus the way they climb and maneuver, they are such badass little predators. It becomes clear why Batman picked a bat to be his symbol of strength and fear for the criminals. In this case, insects are the criminals, and batman is adorable!

(Bat photo from Lee Carson and bat house photo from Let Ideas Compete)

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