Not Just Bears: Massachusetts Has Bats, Too
By now, you've probably heard as much about the wandering SouthCoast black bear as you want to hear and are ready for something else.
How about bats?
The Massachusetts Audubon Society says, "There are nine species of bats that have historically lived in Massachusetts, several of which are state-listed as Endangered."
They include the Eastern Red bat, Hoary Bat, Little Brown bat, Big Brown bat, Tricolored bat, Northern Long-Eared bat, Indiana bat, Eastern Small-footed bat, and Silver-haired bat.
Nowhere did I find a vampire bat or the Caped Crusader on the list. I checked twice.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says all but two bat species are statewide. The Indiana bat is likely confined to Berkshire and Hampden counties though there hasn't been a sighting there since 1939.
The Silver-haired, Eastern Red and Hoary bats tend to migrate during colder months. The other bat species will find winter shelter in rocks, caves, mines, trees and buildings.
While most think bats are creepy, Mass Audubon says they are beneficial because "all bats in Massachusetts are insectivores."
Dr. Thomas Kuntz, a bat researcher at Boston University, estimates that the bats living within Route 128 eat 13 tons of insects each summer.
Mass Audubon says, "It is estimated that an individual bat can eat 600 insects per hour." That includes "thousands of mosquitoes, moths, and other night-flying insects."
You should contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at (617) 983-6800 should a bat enter your home so that it – and you – can be tested for potential disease.
Mass Audubon's website provides instructions for what to do should you encounter a bat and tips for bat-proofing your home.