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Bats are busy this time of year, but take care if you find one

See a bat? Leave it alone.

Most of us know how to be bear aware, but do you know what to do if you come across a bat?

Midsummer is a busy time of year for the tiny creatures as young pups are learning to fly.

They can end up flapping their way inside homes or other buildings, but don’t pick them up with your bare hands because bats can carry rabies.

“The best thing to do is leave the bat alone,” cautions Paula Rodriguez de la Vega, Okanagan region coordinator for the BC Community Bat Program.

“If it’s not within the reach of a child or a pet and you can leave it there overnight, or for a couple of nights sometimes they might stay, that’s the best option for the bat and for everybody involved.”

If it’s inside a room, open the windows and close the doors to give it time to find its way outside.

However, if the bat needs to be moved for safety reasons, Rodriguez de la Vega says you should wear leather gloves. Place a cloth bag over the bat and pick it up carefully and then turn the bag inside out with the bat inside.

The bag can then be hung from a tree branch in the shade and left overnight, so the winged creature can climb out and fly away.

Peachland is a bat-friendly community and earlier this month they held the annual bat count outside the former primary school that is now the visitor centre. A maternal bat colony was discovered in the rafters of the building in 2011.

The flying mammals are also prized by farmers because they control the insect population, including moths that can wreak havoc on crops.

Rodriguez de la Vega adds that all native bat species eat insects. We do not have fruit bats or vampire bats in B.C.