LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – You’ve probably seen them flying about at night and not even noticed – no not birds, but bats!
With their short snouts, large ears and fur-covered torsos they can elicit a range of emotions and reactions from people.
However, Dr. Becky McPeake, an extension wildlife specialist with the U of A Division of Agriculture says there is nothing to fear, if you’re careful.
“Bats can be an issue if they have rabies, which is one of those big concerns,” explains Dr. McPeake. “However, very few bats actually get rabies so most of the bats we see that are flying around are normally healthy and they are doing their own thing.”
Bats are frequently thought to be pests because they can get into a home.
However, many bats are in fact pest controllers by eating thousands of insects in one night – including mosquitoes.
Arkansas is home to 16 different bat species.
Dr. McPeake says downtown might have one of the largest bat boxes in Arkansas. The box is constructed directly next to the river. The constructions are used for the mammals to eat and sleep, serving as their home.
“The Witt Stephens Arkansas Game and Fish Nature Center in Little Rock, right close to that they have a really great big bat box,” says Dr. McPeake. “I suspect it’s the largest one in Arkansas.”
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission couldn’t confirm if any new bats were living in the bat box but since the last check – none have taken residency.
For now, these nocturnal flying creatures are still considered endangered, which is why state law protects all bat species.
For more information on how to create your own bat box, click here.