Mendocino Coast Audubon Society logo Our next meeting will be Monday, October 17 at the Caspar Community Center 15051 Caspar Rd, Caspar, CA 95420 7PM

Rachael Freeman Long, University of California Farm Advisor and bat authority, will discuss the management and conservation of bats. Bats will soon be migrating back to Northern California from their overwintering sites from as far away as Mexico. Others will be waking up from a long winter's sleep, after hibernating in caves. We have twenty-five species of bats in our state and most are insectivorous. Some bats also feed on pollen and nectar and are important pollinators of plants. Their voracious appetite for bugs makes them superb predators of insect pests in our croplands. Farmers who want their help in controlling pests are putting up boxes to attract colonies of bats to their farms. Their secret to success is to put the bat boxes on the side of a building, at least ten feed high, and where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade to ensure occupancy. Bats are some of the most interesting mammals, but due to their nocturnal habits, they're not well understood. Contrary to popular belief, bats are not blind, they do not get tangled in your hair, they're not flying rats, and they're not aggressive. Instead, they echolocate to see in the dark, they're very shy and cute, and they live for over thirty years. While bats can carry rabies, this disease is preventable. Never pick up a bat with bare hands, as they'll bite in self-defense, and always vaccinate your pets. Some of the threats to bats include wind turbines and white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that attacks bats. Rachael Long, Farm Advisor with the UC Cooperative Extension Service in the Sacramento Valley, has been studying bats and their impacts on pest control in orchard crops for nearly twenty-five years. She is also the author of a children's chapter book series that brings kids into a world of bats in a highly adventurous way. Join her for an engaging evening to learn more about the natural history of bats in our state.

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