What you can do to help bats

In Your Backyard

Bat House builders meetingThere are several things you can do to help bats on your property.

  • Leave dead and dying trees - or as much of the tree as possible - for roosting habitat. If you are taking a tree down, speak to your arborist about leaving as much of the tree as is safe for wildlife habitat.
  • Keep your cats indoors. The impact of pet and feral cats on birds is well documented. Less well known is their impact on bats, but cats are probably the single largest predator of bats in urban and rural areas. 
  • Install a bat box.  There are two designs that we recommend for Victoria: 
    • The most proven design is the 4 Chambered Maternity House. A number of houses with this design have been occupied by bats. It is best installed on the side of a building with as much sun as possible. In order to keep the box warm, it is also a good idea to paint it black.  Bat Conservation International has an excellent set of easy to follow plans.
    • For open spaces, installing a Rocket-box type house can be much simpler. Built around a central pole, the box is much easier to install if there is no structure to place it on. While it hasn't been proven in the Victoria area to attract bats, it also hasn't been used as often.  Painted black and placed in area where it will get lots of direct sunlight, we hope that it will be attractive to bats. The University of Nebraska has an excellent set of plans available.
  • Regardless of what plans you choose, if you want your bat house to be successful and safe, there are a few things you can do:
    • Keep the box inaccessible to house cats and other predators. Unfortunately, these animals can devastate a colony.
    • Make sure the house gets lots of sunlight. In this climate, the more sun the house gets the better.
    • Make sure there are no potential flying obstructions near the house. Tree branches and other obstacles will discourage bats from occupying the house.

As a Volunteer

HAT needs volunteers to count and monitor bats, and to build bat houses. 

Bat Counts

With other Community Bat Programs across BC, HAT is helping to coordinate the Annual Bat Count, a citizen science program to annually monitor bat populations in roost sites. Abandoned houses, barns, church steeples – and even currently-occupied structures – can provide a summer home to female bats and their young. Monitoring these “maternity colonies” can give biologists a good idea of how bat populations in an area are doing from year to year. With the occurrence of White-nose Syndrome in North America, monitoring these colonies is more important than ever.

Ideally, the Bat Count includes four counts during the summer - two between June 1 and 21 (before pups can fly) and two more between July 21 and August 15 (when pups are flying and exiting the roost with their mothers). Doing all four bat counts allows us to best compare data from year to year and between sites. However, if you don't have time, you can choose your level of participation.

Bat House Construction

If you are interested in building bat houses for HAT, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You need to have some woodworking experience - a bat house is somewhat more complicated to build than a bird house - and access your own tools and equipment. We use the same designs that we have linked to above.

If you are interested in volunteering your time, contact us at 250 995-2428 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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