SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — This Saturday is International Bat Appreciation Day.
There are more than 1,400 bat species in the world. 13 of these flying mammals can be spotted in South Dakota.
“They’re more than likely, especially if they’re in urban area, going to see a little brown bat or big brown bat. Once we head west in the state there are some other species that are more restricted to the hills,” South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Wildlife Biologist Silka Kempema said.
With Bat Appreciation Day on the horizon, the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls is marking the occasion with a virtual event.
“What I like about having these opportunities is that we can reach a wider audience,” Program Naturalist Sandy Richter said.
Wildlife biologist Silka Kempema will lead the virtual presentation.
“We’re still learning lots and lots of things about bats so learning some of the basic facts about bats and sharing those with your friends and family can go a long way into conserving bats. And all the bats in South Dakota eat bugs, just throwing that in,” Kempema said.
Bats aren’t exactly popular, but do play a critical role in controlling mosquito population.
“A bat can consume about half its body weight in insects a night, so if you think of how much you weigh and think about how much food that would be, that would be a lot of bugs,” Kempema said.
Kempema will also share humane ways to rid your home of bats. Seal entry points, but leave a single one-way exit. She says timing is key.
“So you want all the bats to be able to fly, so either you want to do it before the first of May or after the first of September and that’s to allow young to be able to fly,” Kempema said.
Richter has a solution for keeping the bats close, but not too close.
“Rather than having them move into your attic or live in your house we would provide housing for them, so we have bat houses, kits that have been pre-cut and pre-drilled, so all they have to do is be assembled and these are free to the public,” Richter said.
If you’d like to attend the virtual event Thursday night at 7:00, or if you’d interested in building a bat house, click HERE for contact information.