While many animals hibernate during the winter, some bats do not. In our region of New York and New Jersey, there are roughly 9 species of bats. 6 of them are cave-dwelling bats, which tend to hibernate in caves or look for places to hole up, such as attics or sheds. The other 3 species are tree-dwelling bats, which tend to migrate south for the winter. In the winter bats may be a problem for some homeowners.
Hibernating Bats in The Winter
Most of the time, hibernating bat species are well-established by this time of the year. However, some bats may be chased out of their winter dwellings and forced to look elsewhere for shelter. While some conservancies will build bat boxes to help colonies, many groups may look towards local properties. It is not uncommon for these critters to use attics or sheds as shelters for the winter. Because of extreme temperature drops and a lack of insects, these bats need shelter in the winter to survive.
White Nose Syndrome
Some bats will get a fungal infection in the winter known as “White Nose Syndrome,” a sickness that awakens the bat out of hibernation early. The fungus forces the bat to metabolize stored fats quicker, resulting in an early end to hibernation. Affected bats will often be confused, and use up any remaining energy searching for food. This may result in the death of the affected bat.
This condition can spread throughout a colony and can affect a hibernating group. This condition thrives between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Which is often the temperature of areas a colony will hibernate in.
Winter Bats and Rabies
Bats are known carriers of rabies, although most bats in a colony are unlikely to carry it. However, you should never approach a colony yourself. Never attempt to remove a bat colony by yourself. Hire a professional, wildlife removal specialist to help you exclude the bat colony. Additionally, because 2 bat species in NY are endangered, there may be laws protecting the colony. NY/NJ Wildlife Removal Inc. is NWCOA Bat Standards Compliant. Our removal team is trained to handle the safe and humane removal of bats.