It is often difficult to differentiate between bats or other animals that may have taken up residence in your home.  Below you will find descriptions of signs of different animals that may be using your home, and help you determine if you do in fact have bats.

Birds:    

An animal using a building can usually be identified as a bird if loose feathers, or nesting materials, such as grasses, sticks, etc., are present.  Bird fecal material will generally appear white and will generally not form piles beneath the access point to the home.

Frogs:

Frog droppings may look like bat droppings, but will not form piles or crumble when disturbed.  Frog droppings generally appear as one or two pieces and commonly occur under porch lights, and other locations that wouldn’t be able to support a colony of bats. 

Bats:

Many bats are highly social and will roost colonially throughout the year.  During the summer, some bats will form maternity colonies that range from a few to thousands of individuals.  Unfortunately, many of the characteristics of an ideal colony location occur in buildings, including attics, barns, garages or soffits, underneath shutters or roof shingles, in wall voids or behind siding or chimneys. 

To determine if a colony of bats is roosting in a building, look for this evidence, as suggested by the Florida Bat Conservancy:

  1. Sighting of bats: At dawn or dusk, you may see bats entering or leaving the building. This is easiest to see at dawn, because bats swarm and fly around the entrance hole a few times before entering the roost. You can also watch for bats exiting near the roofline of a building at sunset.
  2. Sounds made by bats: Bats can see but they also use ultrasonic pulses to guide their flight and locate insects (called "echolocation"). Most of these vocalizations are above the range of human hearing, but some people can hear the calls made by some bats. Also roosting bats may squeak or scurry when disturbed. You can often hear bat vocalizations shortly before sunset as bats in a colony are preparing to leave their roost for the night.
  3. Sighting of bat scat: Piles of black, dry guano are usually found under the main exit hole bats use to get in and out of a building. Guano can also be found lightly scattered throughout an entire structure where bats fly about, but is typically concentrated in specific areas where bats spend most of their time such as a wall void or the intersection of beams and rafters. Scat may also be seen on the exterior wall of the building, usually below a hole or crack. Large piles of guano are usually found beneath areas that are used often, or by large numbers of bats. Bat droppings look somewhat like mouse droppings, but differ in several characteristics. First, mouse scat isn't found in large piles, but bat guano often is. Second, individual pieces of mouse scat are a little smaller than bat guano. Third, bat droppings will crumble into powdery dust when crushed, but mouse droppings won't. Lastly, you may see pieces of metallic insect wings in bat scat, but not mouse scat.
  4. Sighting of bat stains: Rub marks may be present along the edges of exit holes used by bats on the exterior of buildings. These stains are a slight brown discoloration that's a mix of body oils and dirt, left behind as bats squeeze through tight entry points.

If you believe you have a colony of bats roosting in your home, learn about how to handle the situation.



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