Why care about bats?
- Bats play an important role in healthy ecosystems - they eat half of their body weight in insects every night!
- Bats are susceptible to a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome which often kills 90 to 100% of bats roosting together during hibernation. This has caused drastic declines in bat populations across eastern Canada.
- 7 of Canada’s 19 bat species live in Grasslands National Park including the Little Brown Myotis; an endangered species that is highly susceptible to white-nose syndrome.
- All bats in Grasslands National Park are protected by law under the Canada National Parks Act. The Little Brown Myotis, is also protected under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
A bat was confirmed to have white-nose syndrome in summer (2022). This syndrome is a fungal disease killing bats in North America. The cold loving disease attacks the bare skin of bats causing them to warm up and come out of hibernation too early to survive.
White-nose syndrome does not pose a threat to human health, however live or dead bats should not be handled as they do carry diseases and parasites harmful to people.
To find out how you can protect bats and white-nose syndrome visit:
Parks Canada: Bats and Parks Canada
The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative: http://www.cwhc-rcsf.ca/wns.php
Find out more about species at risk
Bats often roost in attics or other hidden spaces in buildings.
Signs that bats may be inside a building include: an accumulation of guano (bat droppings that are solid, black/brown in colour, containing insect wings), noise coming from between walls, and seeing bats exit a building at sunset or entering at sunrise. Most roosting bats remain in a location for a few days, however some roosts, such as those with females and their young, may include larger numbers of bats that stay in one location for a longer period of time.
If you discover a bat, dead or alive, in a building or on the ground:
- Do not touch or handle the bat.
- Call 1-877-852-3100 and a Parks Canada Resource Conservation Officer will respond.
- Do not take any actions which could negatively impact the bat or a roost.
- If possible, isolate the bat to one room by closing interior doors and windows.
- Keep people and pets away.
Coming in contact with a bat may pose serious health risks
- Recently there have been documented cases of bats with rabies in Saskatchewan.
- Rabies is a rare but serious viral disease that can infect humans and domestic pets.
- Rabies can be transmitted if you are bitten or scratched by an infected bat. It can also be transmitted if infectious material, such as saliva, gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound.
- If you know or suspect that you have been bitten or scratched by a bat, wash the wound well with soap and water and immediately seek medical treatment. Do not wait. Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.
- Seek immediate medical advice if you know or suspect that you may have been in direct contact with a bat even if there are no signs of a bite or scratch (e.g. a bat present inside your house when you are sleeping).
- If a pet comes in contact with a live or a dead bat immediately contact your veterinarian.