We have a unique ecosystem here in the prairies, one that relies heavily on our native insects and animals flourishing in their natural habitats. We’ve become more aware of the importance of bees and have participated in campaigns that focus on preserving them in the past few years, but did you know that it’s equally vital to our beautiful city to help maintain the bat population?
We might want to blame Bram Stoker for our fear of the nocturnal winged creatures, but they’re really not as scary as folklore makes them out to be. Bats actually play a crucial role in pest control, as well as pollinating plants and dispersing seeds. Many bats eat insects that could otherwise decimate crops, while others actually rely on nectar for their diet. No bloodsuckers here!
There are at least six types of non-migratory bats that hibernate during our cold Alberta winters and are often found in decaying trees, deep rock cracks and erosion holes along rivers and, although there is risk of rabies in many wild animals, there’s a misconception that bats are regular carriers of the disease. In fact, there are only seven documented cases of humans contracting rabies from bats in the entire country since 1950.
Learn more about how you can contribute to protecting bats and other native creatures through Urban Stewardship Seminars hosted by the Ritchie Community League. Available for free and open to anyone, you can choose just the bat seminar on April 10th, or learn more about bees and other local pollinators with Meghan Jacklin of the Edmonton and Land Trust at their next session on March 20th at 9 a.m.