Bats have evolved over a long period of time to live in many places. However, their ideal natural habitat is in the wild. Naturally, they roost in trees, underground sites, and caves. Attics, barns and sheds are also areas that bats prefer to roost in the urban areas. Bats live in colonies, either male or female, they never mix up. The female can roost at tree tops but, whenever pregnant, they will seek a warmer, safer and sheltered place, preferably the attics.
Factors influencing bats’ habitats
Bats are particularly choosy when it comes to selection of roosts. They can’t bore holes or make nests, and the easiest way out for them is to find a ready-made location. They will reside close to a stream corridor or still waters to forage. Water points attracts lots of insects they can feed on. Bats also select their habitats depending on the seasons of the year. Summer roosts are different from winter roosts.
Many bats favor tree roosts unlike others which seek buildings. Trees are a wise selection since they provide shelter and aptly attract a chockfull of insects. The bats find crevices and cavities made by other animals. Wood decay and other arboricultural methods also create spaces that can den bats. Bats will settle at the canopies in summer due to the warm temperatures and move lower during the winter periods. Breeding females retain body heat by clustering together or selecting naturally warm or highly insulated sites
Mines, cellars, tunnels and caves offer the ideal hibernation condition for bats. Features that make the underground roosts perfect include:
• No light disturbance
• No noise
• Less predators
• Constant and stable low temperature
• Optimum humidity levels
They select the humid condition in caves due to moisture loss in this period. Humid conditions regulate moisture loss and helps them retain a lot of heat and water that could be lost to the environment. Another beneficial factor is that caves have a constant temperature throughout the hibernation time. Underground roosts are also used for eating and mating.
Roosting in buildings
Since human encroachment into the woodlands has been rampant, bats have resorted to human spaces and have adapted to these spaces. Be it churches, barns, houses or bridges, bats will find a way to make them their dens. However, many of the bats inside your attics are perhaps female of a maternity colony so you should be cautious about their stay in your house.