This Halloween, wildlife expert explains why Bay Area has a booming bat population

ABC7 Bay Area Digital Staff Image
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Wildlife expert explains why Bay Area has a booming bat population
While there are no vampire bats in the Bay Area, there are 16 other species that are currently surging, and a recently named California state bat.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bats are synonymous with Halloween, but did you know there's actually a surge in them in the Bay Area -- at least for now?

Matt Sharp Chaney, a wildlife biologist for Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, explained to ABC7 what's happening.

Chaney says that it's the time of season when bats are moving from summer maternity roosts to areas where they can go to wait out the winter and become much less active.

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But Chaney says it's a good thing if people are seeing more bats.

There are 16 species of bats in the Bay Area native to the region that are insectivores, eating mosquitos and agricultural pests. Chaney says there are no vampire bats here.

He also says it's a possibility there are more bats because of the increase in the insect population due to the storms in the Bay Area last winter.

Despite the population surging, Chaney notes the threats that bats can face.

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"A lot of bats worldwide and even here in California face a lot of threats like impacts from wind turbines, a disease called White-nose syndrome, that can wipe out 90-100 percent of colonies, as well as habitat loss," Chaney said.

In terms of when to see bats, the best times would be around dawn or dusk as they are nocturnal. Chaney says they can roost on the sides of buildings and exfoliating bark in trees, but a good place to spot them is anywhere where there's water.

Chaney says rabies is a serious issue, but it's a rare occurrence and to avoid coming into contact with them.

In exciting recent news just in time for Halloween, the pallid bat, which eats things like scorpions, has been selected as California's official state bat.

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