All about bats in WNC

This winged emblems of scary season are vital to the health of our environment.


An Eastern small footed bat.

Photo by Katherine Caldwell

Table of Contents

Since spooky season officially kicks off today, we’re looking at 1 of the most iconic emblems of Halloween: bats. To get the real scoop on these winged critters, we spoke with Kendrick Weeks, Western Wildlife Diversity Program Supervisor with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Here’s what we learned.

The basics of WNC bats

  • There are at least 13 species in WNC.
  • All of these are insectivores, meaning they eat insects for sustenance. No human blood suckers, here — those types live in Central America.
  • Their function is pest control, and they save the corn industry in NC over $1 billion annually in pest control.
  • Bats are nocturnal creatures that sleep during the day and are most active at night.
  • Most human rabies cases are linked to bats because most people don’t realize when they’ve been bitten (or they downplay it).
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Little brown bats, or pups. I Photo by Katherine Caldwell

Fun bat facts

  • In NC, there’s a moratorium on evicting colonies of bats from your home from May 1-July 31.
  • The term “blind as a bat” is a misnomer. They are not actually blind, but because they are active at night, they use their other senses more, making it seem as though their vision is poor or nonexistent.
  • Bats breed in the fall and tend to hibernate during the winter.
  • Females give birth to an average of 1 or 2 babies a year (aka pups) in the spring.
  • In the wild, bats can live to be 30 years old. In captivity, they tend to live for 7-10 years.
  • There’s no research that shows these wild animals form bonds with people, so the chances of making friends with a bat are sadly pretty slim.

Want to create a bat-friendly home without inviting them inside?

  • Keep a well-maintained home + inspect points of entry regularly.
  • Install a bat box, an artificial roost that offers bats a safe environment while protecting your yard from pests.
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