Most people that I speak to in Toronto are surprised to hear that bats are currently living in the city. They have heard about bats living in the great outdoors of cottage country, be it in Muskoka, Georgian Bay, the Kawarthas, Prince Edward County, or Lake Huron. But in Toronto or other large cities, they have never seen a bat and assume they aren’t present.
What most people don’t realize is most bats are mistakenly identified as birds seen flying in the evening around dusk. They can be easily identified by their irregular flight patterns, as they dart this way and that catching their nightly meal.
“But where do the bats live?” You might find yourself asking, but they can be found in any number of places across the city. The most common place to find them is in man-made structures that aren’t animal-proof. All a bat needs to gain entry to a home or building is a gap 1/4 of an inch wide. With this kind of flexibility, you can imagine that there are many doors to be found in most structures that provide ideal protection from the elements.
Although we don’t want them living in our homes, we definitely want these amazing animals in our cities to help control the insects, particularly mosquitos. Apart from mosquitos carrying West Nile and other diseases, they can ruin even the best of barbecues, when party-goers are swarmed and forced indoors. This is why we work so hard to humanely relocate bats to our bat houses and other natural roosts, keep them close by to continue to benefit from their presence.
If you are interested in seeing bats at night, a good place to look is near street lights where there are lots of insects such as moths, beetles, and yes, mosquitos.
Look for the oddly flying birds!