Despite their Dutch name “vleermuizen” (winged mice) bats have nothing in common with mice. Mice are rodents while bats are classified under a separate order of the mammalians. Simply put bats are the swallows of the night.
Just as most other mammals bats are viviparous animals. A female bat can only bear one (exceptionally two) young per year. All species give birth in June or July. Some months prior to that, the female start looking for a suitable place to bear their young. Such places have to be warm, dry, quiet and preferably dark. Attics, cavity walls, hollow trees, shutter cases and cavities behind woodwork or window-shutters are particularly popular. The number of animals in such a maternity colony can vary from a few to over a hundred.
Of the 18 species that are present in our country, there are only three we can regularly find in houses. The common pipistrelle covers 99% of that amount. Most people expect problems with such a bat colony in a house: the bringing in of nesting material, the gnawing at timber and insulation, the carrying of diseases, odour nuisance from the droppings, etc. Too often one tends to think about the massive increase of the number of animals, which is of course unfounded. Since bats only bear one young once a year, a plague is out of the question.
What’s more, bats that use a cavity wall, an attic or a shutter case settle for the existing space and don’t change anything about it. They don’t make a nest or collect nest material. And since they are insectivores, they don’t gnaw at insulation or timber and consequently don’t make any mess.
In principle bats don’t give out a smell, unless exceptionally when a large colony lives too close to the lived in rooms. Finally most complaints regard droppings. These can mainly be found on the ground beneath the entrance and consist exclusively of fragments of undigested insect wing cases and legs. This makes it easy to distinguish bat from mice droppings: a bat pellet crumbles when crushed, while a mice’s get squashed. Moreover, bat manure is better for your garden than mushroom fertilizer. Finally, if we tell you that bats never attack and certainly don’t fly into your hair, we hope that they will be allowed to stay in the same house.
If cohabitation is impossible after all, you can call us at our telephone number 089/85.49.