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New bat telephone hotline begins in P.E.I.

Tessa McBurney works at the bat hotline, a new number Islanders can call to report sightings or have their questions about the creatures answered.
Tessa McBurney works at the bat hotline, a new number Islanders can call to report sightings or have their questions about the creatures answered. - Submitted

Bat sightings reported by the public will also provide researchers with valuable information related to the protection of two federally endangered bat species

The bat signal has gone up over P.E.I.

People can now call a new toll-free number, 1-833-434-BATS (2287), to report sightings of bats or simply have their questions answered.

The number will put people in contact with an expert at the new Atlantic Bat Conservation Project based out of the Canadian Wildlife Health Co-operative, Atlantic Veterinary College and UPEI.

Experts expect to field calls from people reporting bats in their homes and will issue advice on how best to manage these creatures or remove them in a way that is safe for people and animal.

Other questions might centre around bat-related health concerns.

The health of bats in Atlantic Canada is under threat from the devastating white-nose syndrome, which continues to spread in the region and impact endangered species. It is critical to report any sightings of bats that occur during the syndrome season of Nov. 1 to May 31.

Callers will be provided with the most up-to-date and accurate information about bat-related topics.

Bat sightings reported by the public will also provide researchers with valuable information related to the protection of two federally endangered bat species – the little brown myotis and the northern myotis.

Bat facts

1. A little brown bat can eat half of its body weight in insects per night

2. From 1950 to 2007 there have been 56 cases where people have died from bat rabies in the US and Canada

3. Bats make up a quarter of all mammals

4. Bats have a different number of pups per year depending on the species. For instance, northern long-eared bats and little brown bats have only one pup per year. Hoary bats and silver-haired bats typically have twins. Big brown bats have either one pup or twins

5. Many bats can live longer than 25 years, with a little brown bat receiving the record for the longest lifespan at 35 years

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