The Lecture Hall Florida Bats and Bat Detecting


our world is constantly evolving as time
moves forward things change which is why it’s important to stay informed
throughout the year there are dozens of professionals to share their expertise
with community through lectures sponsored by local government agencies
and area not-for-profits and each month SLC TV will feature one of these
visiting professor says they discussed the latest current events so grab a
notebook and pull up a chair because the lecture hall is about to begin so I’ve been working with bats for a
long time back in 1998-99 we used to have bats in the met Stadium in st.
Lucie County I know some of the kids that aren’t here that was like way
before your time but for some of us and actually it was probably before a lot of
our time here because we do have so many people moving to our community but back
then we had an issue with bats in the stadium and I’ve always kind of help
people with bats and buildings you know sometimes bats here in st.
Lucie County they like to get in those barrel tiled roofs that are not sealed
properly and they live in there and sometimes that can cause a health
problem with guano and things like that and on occasion we have them in places
that are going to be a pretty severe public nuisance sometimes medical
buildings will have them and sometimes we’ll get them like in the stadium in
st. Lucie West where the Mets were and back in 98 99 I think it was 99 they
were actually gonna stop spring training from starting up because the bats were
living over the bleachers over over the seating and it was a health concern so
they called me in real fast and what we did is we had a prescription for
something called bat exclusion so basically we put one-way doors up so the
bats were able to get out but not get back in again and we put up a bat house
to serve as alternative habitat so I’ll kind of talk about that during my
presentation today and we also have an abundance of bat roosts in st. Lucie
County I’m going to show you one of the bridges one of my two of my students
were working on they did a survey of bridges in Saint Lucie County looking
for bats so we’ll kind of talk about all that
stuff so today we’re gonna talk about some bat biology some common bat species
that are found here some bat folklore some conflicts between bats in people
vampire bats I’ve actually worked with vampire bats not here but down at Costa
Rica and then bat detector is an active location and I’m gonna concentrate on
that last portion there so some of the misconceptions bats don’t want to fly in
your hair you know that’s one of the misconceptions people tell me that bats
will buzz them well if you’re going out right after dusk or maybe right before
dawn if you’ve got a lot of bats in the area they might come down and kind of
maybe swoop you but it’s not they’re not attracted
to you in any way shape or form so they’re not going to be out there you
know trying to attack you or whatever it is that people think they don’t want to
bite your neck so so don’t think that you’re gonna have a bat fall down and
like going you know that’s all Dracula movie is that’s that’s not reality here
they won’t eat their fruit off of your trees sometimes people think that the
bats in Florida we’ve got we don’t have the fruit eating bats here one of the
other things we obviously don’t have vampire bats they’re also this is a big
misconception they’re not mosquito eaters so the best that we have in st.
Lucie County although they are insect eaters they are not what I would
consider to be voracious mosquito eaters so if you put a bat house up in your
backyard because of mosquito control you want to have them eat the mosquitoes
it’s probably not gonna do a lot of work you know a good job of putting those
mosquitoes down what they’re gonna do those they’re gonna eat moths and some
other insects that are flying around back there when you get up towards your
land oh and you get the little brown back that’s when you start getting those
voracious mosquito eaters so as you move down the peninsula the bat species
change a little bit and down here we have the Brazilian Freetail bat which is
just not a mosquito eater and then they are not blind but they navigate they fly
around and navigate using echolocation and I have some devices in the room
that’s that can pick up the echolocation we can’t hear it but we need devices
that can so the thing about rabies people are also concerned about the
health risks associated with rabies so less than it’s less than it’s one in 200
people what less than one in 200 bats in a population could potentially be rabid
at any time now that’s believe it or not that sounds like a low amount but that’s
what statistics show and when you have a bat colony that might be in the numbers
of hundreds of thousands you can see where you could be dealing with quite a
few bats that could be rabid now especially for kids what and and
prepares when you ever see a bat that’s kind of off on its own it might be
clinging to a window or maybe clinging to a wall or something all
on its own or maybe down on the ground that’s an indication that there’s
something not quite right with that bad now that’s our colonial which means that
they like to live with other bats so they’re gonna be up in a roost somewhere
sometimes owner addict sometimes they’re in a palm tree or something but when you
start seeing them on their own it’s an indication that something’s not wrong
and potentially they could be rabid and what happens when they do pick up the
rabies virus is they start to lose muscle tone they get malnourished they
stop eating they lose muscle tone and they moved from the roost down lower to
the ground and that’s when children and pets can potentially be exposed to that
we did have an instance at one of our local environmental education centers
where one of the junior volunteers at the center saw a bat he was with some
friends and a trail saw a bat and put the bat in a shoebox brought it home for
a few days and then I kind of found out about it through the word you know
through word of mouth and that’s when we determined that would be a good idea for
the health department to get involved because we just don’t know if that child
was exposed to any viruses and just to show you in comparison raccoon sits
about one in three statistics show about one in three raccoons could be rabid at
a at a given time statistically so there are two sub waters there’s the new world
bat which is the micro chiroptera this bat that I have right here is one of the
micro bats I know what might look large but when you are out there in the wild
we just don’t have those flying foxes now I’ve been to parts of the world
where they do have flying foxes you can go to Australia New Zealand places like
that and they have giant flying foxes that are you know an arm’s length ahead
if you ever go if you ever get a chance to go to someplace like Sydney her royal
majesties Botanical Garden in downtown Sydney has such as sausage trees and
they look like the fruit looked like giant sausages there are flying foxes by
the hundreds living in those we just don’t have them here if you go to a zoo
and they have the giant flying foxes just keep in mind that those came from
somewhere else it’s kind of a misconception when people think about
bats that they think about these gigantic you know
things and and also the vampire bats from the movies and things like that so
all robots are going to be somewhat small like this and this is actually on
the larger end of the bat species that we’ve got we’ve got one that’s actually
the size of the top digit of my thumb so they’re they’re tiny it’s almost like a
double bubble be it’s it looks like it’s about that big wingspan about that big
and those giant flying foxes are the fruit eating bats and we call those mega
chiroptera now what chiroptera means it means hand wing so an micro meaning
small and mega meaning large so if you look at a bats wing if you were to
stretch it out spread it out you would see that it has the finger bones the
same finger bones that we have their thumb is actually the tip where the wing
would connect and it would go around the membranes the thumb is not an opposable
thumb like ours we can wiggle and move our thumb around it’s very stiff and I
would I would call it a semi opposable so it just kind of moves like this it
would be good to cling on to something but not really you know as usable as
ours so we have 13 native species in Florida and they’re mostly insectivore
us we do have seven that are adventitious advantageous which means
that they came here from somewhere else and then they’re likely to migrate out
bats are of course preyed on by other critters snakes will prey on them if you
ever go out to the bat cave out in Texas that I’m sure you’re you’ve heard about
in Austin they actually have owls and they’ve got snakes and things like that
just kind of waiting there and perching waiting for the the bats to come out at
night with owls what I’ve noticed is we’ll do night hikes from time to time
and I’ve done this with the manatee Center and April maybe we can do this
next year so where we’ve done night hikes and what we’ll notice is that the
bats if there’s a gap in the forest the bats will just kind of congregate along
the edge of the forest and if you’ll look real closely at the forest edge
you’ll see owl eyes staring back at you and that’s because the the owls are
waiting for all the bats to kind of accumulate and what they’ll do is
they’ll make a mad break for across the gap and that’s when the L is
kind of strike and ether their prey so this is a free tail bat this is what
I’ve got here and you can tell it’s a free tail bat because the tail is
hanging free now the membrane from the other for the other bats in Florida
especially in our area at the tail the membrane goes all the way to the tip of
the tail but just here we just don’t have the tight that we’ve got the free
tail that has the this is the most common one by the way they have the tail
that does not have the membrane about it sino SEF ala
Seppala and with that basically that’s the genus and species and that’s the
subspecies right there and by the way there’s a Mexican Freetail and there’s a
Brazilian free tail there are two different types of bats we’ve got the
Brazilian and the sign of cephalo what that is that translates them to dog head
so if you have a good imagination you can kind of see a dog’s head in the face
of that bat you’ll also notice that the ears are somewhat facing forward and you
might notice that there’s a lot of wrinkles in their face and we think that
all those adaptations is to help them pick up sound waves out in the
environment so free-tailed bats they mate in about mid-february to about late
March they will have the she’ll be pregnant with them for about twelve
weeks and then the female gives birth when she gives birth she’s upside down
so what’ll happen is she’ll go back to the bat colony back to the roost she’ll
hang upside down and that little baby bat will come out of her womb and then
will cling to the fur and during the first few minutes they smell each other
and the momma bat really gets a good chance to recognize her baby bout that
way and then the momma bat will of course produce milk for for the baby but
then the momma gets hungry and the mama has to go out looking for insects to eat
so what the momma will do is the momma will move the baby bat with the other
baby bats on the colony and then she’ll fly off she’ll leader insects at night
and then she’ll go back and she’ll find her baby bat and what might be hundreds
of others and they do that by recognizing the scent and they they
imprint that way have you ever heard about birds and how birds imprints when
you’ve got little hatchlings they imprint on the on the adult really
quickly well it’s somewhat like that with the
bats now some people have problems with bats in the buildings so sometimes here
in st. Lucie County we’ll have bats that get up in the barrel tile rubes and are
not properly sealed they live up there and I’ll have a slide a little bit later
that shows this the prescription for dealing with that is by putting up
one-way doors so essentially the bats are able to get out but not get back in
again it’s called exclusion well if you were to have the momma bat leave the
colony but not get back in again then all the babies are gonna die off because
they can’t feed so during certain times of the year in the summertime primarily
the the mom it’s technically illegal to do that exclusion process you have to
wait until the babies are long are old enough to be able to fly out of that bat
colony and and be able to get insects on their own so there’s an actual season
for it so this is the free-tailed bat they’re brown they’re well camouflaged
out there for night flying I’ve worked with my bat detectors and I’ve had bats
right there my bat detector say that they’re close by I’ve never seen him out
there we’ve gone out to bat houses we’ve looked in the bat houses in st. Lucie
County we’ve actually seen flying foxes and some but we’ve never actually seen
the bats clinging to the bat houses out there and that’s because they’re very
well camouflaged and also they just don’t like using bat houses in our area
so this is one an attic that has bats in it and you can see how they’re just kind
of clinging to the edge right there and they’re kind of clinging to the peak if
a bat gets into addicts what happens you’re you’re not going to have one
you’re not going to have two you’re gonna have a whole colony it probably
and what happens is they look for a little exposed entryway and they get up
in there and it might take just an inch of a crack in the roof for the bats to
be able to get in there and they’ll make that into a colony and you can usually
identify where they’re coming in and out because of the smell and it’s the guano
what happens is they they come out of that roost area you’ll see the the body
oils will start rubbing off on the wood the roof so you’ll notice a
discoloration in the wood and as they fly off they will expel their waste and
they do that to go ahead and lighten the load basically it’s easier for them to
fly without all the stuff in their innards than it is for them to fly out
with a full gut so they they will expel all their their guano and then they’ll
fly off and start looking for insects again so this is what the barrel tiles
generally look like on roofs and to a bat that is like a bat house I would
love to see some it may be we have scout leaders or home schoolers or something
that might want to do this I would love to see somebody in Saint Lucie County
actually do an experiment with this find a nice Nature Preserve somewhere at
Saint Lucie County we’ve got a lot maybe Amanda Thompson or somebody at Saint
Lucie County might be willing to work with you on this and just get a 1 square
yard piece of wood and then attach some barrel tiles to it and then put it up in
the air so it’s about 13 feet off the ground and then pitch it at an angle
like this facing eastward and we’ll just see if the bats actually like living at
a bat house that’s just made out of barrel tiles what happens is they get
into the bottom if you have ever seen them there’s a little air a little joint
right down at the bottom a little air hole and the bats kind of squeeze in
there when they’re not properly sealed and in the morning they will go up to
the top where it starts to warm up so in the morning they’re gonna be up at the
top where it’s warm or first and then as it gets too warm out they slowly start
moving down the barrel tile and then at about dusk they wait for about half an
hour after dusk and that’s when they all start coming out and of course they like
this because we don’t have caves do we when was the last time we were in a cave
in singing UC County never never so this is the Florida bonneted bat and this is
our largest resident bat it’s also federally endangered now all bats are
protected they’re protected not as endangered species this particular one
is you just have to make sure that you you mainly working with bats so you
can’t kill them you can’t spray them with insecticides and all that other
stuff believe me I’ve heard stories over the years of what people do to wildlife
the worst stories of course our snake stories people always email me snake
pictures with the head cut off what is this I tell them it’s a dead snake you
know email me before you chop the head off but uh so you know just kind of keep
in mind that they are federally protected they are protected state law
says you can’t be cruel to them so if you have them in buildings and you need
to exclude them you need to be able to do that safely and I would recommend
that you hire somebody that’s got expertise in that this is an evening bat
you can see how they’re all kind of close together like that they are
Colonials so they all will kind of pile on they like to kind of touch each other
and kind of pile onto each other and what I’ve noticed in the bat colonies
here they wait to be in areas that have allowed constant noise production and
where I’ve seen a lot of them are underneath the highway Turnpike and i-95
overpasses if you go down this is my secret bat roost it’s only on TV and I’m
only telling about 40 30 people in the room my favorite bat roost in st. Lucie
County is completely open to everybody you get out an angle Road to where the
Turnpike and i-95 go over there’s two highway overpasses and you just stand
there and you’ll hear all the bats hundreds of thousands of bats living in
each of those overpasses you’ll smell them the one thing I don’t want you to
do I don’t want you to look up with your mouth open
why yeah obviously is you know there’s a lot of guano down there and I’ve had
students studying that those bat colonies for a while I also don’t mind
telling people about those bat colonies because it’s not it’s easy for people to
see them they’re living in the cracks up there at sea just see to see the the
guano but it’s fenced off so it’s not easy for
people actually get to it so these are evening bats and they are all colonial
like that there’s one species that’s not but for the most part they are so the
cave bursting bats we’ve got the myotis bat the grey bath the tricolor bat they
used to be called Eastern pipistrelle the Eastern pipistrelle is our smallest
bat the body is about the size of my the top digit of my thumb so when you spread
the wings out they’re like the size almost like the size of a double
bumblebee so if you were out there seeing them flying around in the evening
you might actually mistake them for something else you know it’s really easy
to mistake some of these bats for something else so and of course these
are living up in the Panhandle and by the way let’s just kind of recognize
what happened up in the Panhandle this week I mean you know we’ve all survived
hurricanes for a very long time I’ve been here since the 80s and we usually
get a lot of warning from the NOAA when hurricanes are come in they got like two
days and they had almost a hurricane five hit them we’ve never had that
happen here in st. Lucie County that I’m aware of but if you think about it they
wouldn’t even have time to put the shutters up you know it happened that
quickly so we’ll kind of keep them in our minds through this so I’m and you
can see in this picture where that thumb bone is so it’s not a thumb that’s
jointed like this it kind of moves stiffly like this and you can also see
the thumb with the membrane going around the finger bones and of course the
membrane would go all the way down to the tail there true flying mammals so we
have some in Florida we’ve got the flying um the flying squirrels those
flying squirrels that are flying around out there there are actually gliders and
if you go to White City Park at the right time you might actually see some
of them flying between some of the palm trees out there I’ve seen them at the
octuple eco center there’s a bat house the Aqua Oxbow eco center property and
we’ve never had bats in it but I’ve seen flying squirrels up in there we’ve taken
our searchlights up there and seen them so in caves what they do up in the
Panhandle when they’ve got because they have caves up there we don’t have them
down here but they have them up there they will actually block people from
going into the caves and they do that because they don’t want those those
colonies disturbed especially in the wintertime and then they’ll post signs
up there do not enter the bat cave so you see this tri-colored bat what
happens is as winter time approaches they will start building up there but
their storage of body fat and there’s not a lot of them on there’s not a lot
of fat on a bat not a lot of fat on a bat that could be a song couldn’t it not
a lot of fat on a bat and so there’s not so what but they do hibernate so what
they’ll do is they’ll get into those caves and then their body temperature
will slowly lower and they’ll get to about the ambient temperature of the
environment around them and they’ve actually I’ve seen video where they’ve
had thermal cameras in caves so you’ll see that there are bats on the cave wall
exactly the same temperature of the wall of the cave itself and it might be you
see there’s there’s actual frost on that bat but if people go into the colony it
might be just enough to wake the bat up and if they do that in the middle of the
winter they do not have enough fat storage in their bodies to make it
through to the end of the winter when they would normally come out of their
hibernation so they might wake up in the middle of winter and then die before the
end of the winter occurs they would all freeze to death so that’s why they have
to have those bat colonies up in the cave areas of Florida where they have to
actually stop people from going in there here in st. Lucie County where are they
living in nature in it outside of the buildings that we’ve talked about
where would Bass be living here palm trees we actually have the yellow bat
which likes to live in palm trees and there’s actually a lot of stuff going on
in palm trees when you’ve got those dead the palm fronds that die off and kind of
hang down I love it when people leave some of those because it actually is a
lot of habitat for a lot of birds the like to get up in there the yellow bat
is almost perfectly camouflaged on those dead palm fronds so it’s a lot of
habitat when you leave those dead palm fronds it also makes sure that the tree
is healthy when you cut those palm fronds off sometimes you open up wounds
that allow bacteria and things to get out so I usually let I ask people leave
them so some of the tree roosting bats we’ve got red bats the Seminole bat that
yellow bats the one I just talked about and then the hoary bat and that one
looks like it almost has a little beard on it and this is what a Seminole bat
looks like they live in Spanish moss so when you see the tillandsia it’s the
Spanish moss living in those oak trees sometimes you’ll see them living right
in that Spanish moss this is the yellow VAT and it’s actually on a little bit of
Spanish moss right there they like to live in those palm fronds and you see
that that yellowish color – its fur it’s almost perfectly camouflage
every time somebody has ever contacted me about the yellow bats it’s been
landscapers that have been trimming the palm fronds and they disturbed a colony
of bats and they want to know what to do and I usually just tell them just leave
the palm fronds it’s easy just leave the palm fronds that worried about you kind
of see where it looks like it maybe has a crest on its chest right there they
live in Florida only in the spring and fall in them they migrate throughout the
state through through the state and then they leave so this is what it would look
like if you have them living in your building so you see how they kind of
gotten into the soft bits or you know maybe we’re a little air vent might be
on the side of the house if all it tastes like an inch and the bats are
getting in there and my little pointer doesn’t show that it doesn’t work here
but you kind of see where it’s marked with a little bit of a discoloration
that’s the body oils as as you have hundreds of bats coming out of the
colony they just kind of rub against that that wood and over time it just
kind of stains the wood now my experience is they like loud constant
noise as I mentioned the highway overpasses they’re getting a lot of
noise from the roads that are overhead in buildings I’ve noticed that they like
to be around pool pumps or air conditioners they have a loud constant
humm and every time well not every time but a lot of the times I’ve been working
with bats where they’ve been on the eastern side of the building and they
have you know allowed air conditioner or something and the exclusion process is
what they’re showing up here so it’s basically putting in one-way doors and
there’s a number of different ways to do that you can put mesh up over the bat
entrance so the bats are not able to get back in it but you have to be careful
with how you do that there’s something called the Hanks funnel so you can
actually form a tube out of hardware cloth and create a little tunnel that’s
about 2 inches in diameter so the bats can kind of get out there and then fly
away if you were to do like what’s shown in that picture you can leave a buckle
leave a little bit of a ripple in that in that in that material so the bats can
climb out but they can’t get back in again and of course you can’t do it
August 15th or yet between April 15th and August 15th you can’t do it during
that that time because that’s when all the babies are in there and it would
actually kill hundreds of bats inadvertently so one we did this at the
Met Stadium and we thought we did everything proper you know we we put up
the excluders we hired somebody to come out and get way up high I’m not a
Heights person so they hired somebody to get out there and then the folks at the
road and bridge department with the county built a bat house and they put it
on four poles they put it out at the mess colony I even went out there with
my bat detectors I located the source of water that I thought they were most
likely to be going towards to get insects and we thought we had everything
all set and the batson never came so we were able to get them safely out of the
stadium so that’s why we still have the maps here the spring training had never
ended you know because we could we were gonna lose the mess and but they never
did come to the bat house and back in 2004 with the hurricane season the bat
house just kind of fell over on its side so it’s probably just rotting out there
probably unusable and and certainly it would be difficult to put it back up
they went so far as to put bleachers up we’re gonna simulate what they have in
Gainesville at the bat house we just never had luck with them we think they
moved into the highway overpasses though and this is what it looked like so they
were living over the seats so you know obviously there’s a health issue there
you wouldn’t want people sitting underneath where especially at night
time if there’s a night game game going on where the bats come out and of course
they’re expelling their waste you want to want that yes well the nice thing
about doing this you know I had that that hurt the screen the hardware cloth
and all that you can just leave it there so it’s a permanent fixture at the at
the Mets team if you were and I should probably actually go there and kind of
remind people that there’s a reason why these these contraptions are up there
because you know over time people forget and you don’t want to have the screens
taken out and just to have bats go back in again so I probably should go out
there and kind of remind them because it’s been almost 20 years since we did
that and and this is what they were living in that little expansion joint
and they were over all the seats out there so they just put some and that’s
what the guano looked like it wasn’t just a little bit it was a lot and yeah
I’ll talk about that because I’ve got the statistics on that and then you can
see this is an excluder so the bats were all able to get out safely but not get
back into those expansion joints so we just had a lot of bats flying around and
we did our best to put a bat house up they just didn’t come you know it’s like
the manatee Center you put the manatee Center next to the creek and you kind of
hope that they’re gonna come sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t so this
is the bat house that they built and it was kind of interesting because I had no
idea when I was getting roped in and doing this project that it was gonna be
like as big of a news story as it was but I had Time magazine I they had me
crawl you see where that little X is what that bar they had me climb up they
got ladders and had me climb up to that little so I was straddling that that bar
right there for hours as they were out there taking pictures of me doing all
this and then I had the news station outside my house for for a day they
liked the the baseball bat and they liked the flying bat
so that was newsworthy right there enough to make news touched somewhere in
Time magazine that was in there I also worked with women Point Elementary
School and this is what the Explorer looked like here but the unusual thing
about this is it was on the artificial wall that the brick fascia so when
you’re at that school and you might notice that you’ve got the wall and then
they’ve got these places where they’ve got this brick fascia it’s an artificial
kind of like it just gives an appearance to the wall there was a one-inch gap
behind it the thing that I didn’t have in this picture is the air conditioner
for the whole school is right there also so once again the loud constant noise
the bats got in that little crack and they went down so usually I’m used to
bats going up into things in this case they went down into that little crack so
the way we solve that issue is by putting that at that excluder up and the
bat problem was solved and of course that was another safety issue because
you don’t want you know how many hundreds of kids in that school we don’t
want them going around bats and we saw the statistics on rabies so one bat and
200 could have that disease so certainly we don’t want them around kids which is
one of the reasons I don’t have them as pets so sometimes you might go to
presentations where they have live bats I’ve worked with Cindy marks with the
Florida bat Center she’s over in Pinellas County
she has live bats that she’s rehabilitated so somebody might have an
injured bat that’s been brought to her they might have baby bats that are
brought to her she’s got to feed these bats by hand and not only that she has
to do that every day and she’s got sometimes she’s got to be up around the
clock feeding these babies and things so uh and and she’s also gone tone-deaf in
high frequencies so high frequency pitches and I think it’s just from being
around so many bats in her house that she and one bat has the same their
echolocation is about as loud as a lawnmower would be it’s just that it’s
in a frequency that we cannot hear so this is a vampire bat and that’s me
holding a vampire bat so back in 1999 I was working on my
master’s degree and by the way I was here at the time it’s possible to live
here and go to school here by the way I grew up in Fort Pierce
I grew up I went to Fort Pierce Central High School the old one that was on
Edwards Road it’s now a Taj Mahal it’s wonderful they’ve got a culinary school
and everything on 25th Street bat colony is right there on 25th Street by the way
I didn’t tell anybody in the room there and so I went to school there and then I
went to IRSC went off to UCF to get my teaching degree taught for a year
decided I want to remain sane got my job got my job at the University of Florida
and I’ve been doing this stuff ever since and and during that time I earned
my master’s degree right at UF right here by highligh and I have an
agricultural education degree and I also have a master uhm a graduate certificate
in environmental education and as part of that I went down to Costa Rica and I
studied the relationship between vampire bats and cattle so what we were doing is
we were putting out mist nets out in the forest and what mist knots it’s kind of
like a tangle net and they’re very delicate so what we would do is we would
set them up in the forest in Costa Rica and we would spread them out we would
look at the cattle in the field and just kind of take a survey of them there and
then we would open the Nets up and we would have a timer and a scientist we
measure everything and we have net time of about 15 minutes so after 15 minutes
of timing we would close then that’s up and then we were down and we would pick
all the bats out that we call during the night and sure enough we were finding
vampire bats and they’re called fireless Domus and what that means
Philo’s Domus is leaf nose so there are many different types of file of Snowmass
bat and that’s that leaf that kind of goes over the nostrils so this is a
particular species called this most ratones and what we were finding that
they would do is they would just pick on maybe a few cattle out in a field or
maybe a horse so they would get out there and they were kind of mostly
concentrated the reference they would fly one at a time onto the animal and
maybe even a couple of it at a time and I think they were sensing the blood meal
I think they were smelling it but I’m not sure they would get out there and
they would make a near-perfect surgical incision with their teeth and then what
they would do is they would start elevating and as they lapped it up their
saliva would anticoagulate it would not allow the bull the blood to clot and
almost immediately what was happening is the bat as it was drinking that blood
meal it was expelling the liquid so just keep
in mind a bat needs to be very efficient to fly the water weight is just
unnecessary weight it was looking for the protein in the blood meal so as it
was lapping it was instantaneously peeing it out and then they would get so
heavy from the the protein that they would take that they would drop to the
ground and they would bend their wings like this and hop over to a place to
kind of hide they would digest the blood meal and then maybe an hour to layer
they would go back to the roost or maybe even go out looking for another blood
meal you we could always find the animals that were the prey animals for
the vampire bats because they were the sick list and you could actually see the
staining on the hide you could see like where the fur had been stained for the
blood meal and then they would get all the diseases from it and so forth so
yeah so they’re real my colleague bill Kern with the University of Florida had
to go back to that area of the world he studied vampire bats he had to go
back to that area because sometimes people live in houses that don’t have
windows that close they might be open and there were actually kids that were
getting bit at night by the vampire bats so at that point when there’s a human
health issue they had to actually take care of that issue that way so these are
bat detectors I actually have them here and you can go and use a search engine
you can go online and look for bat detectors this one run runs about $89
this one runs about 500 they go up from here there’s some that are about two
thousand dollars and then as you get more scientific you can run five
thousand they also have devices out there that you can clip onto your
iPhones and I’ve heard that they do work pretty good and there’s some software
out there so I have not personally tried it so buyer beware you know these do
work pretty well and the reason we use them these bat detectors is because the
bats they’re mostly nocturnal so like I said earlier one of the misconceptions
is that they’re blind they’re not blind they can actually see they just prefer
to be active at night here in st. Lucie County
and in order for them to navigate around they have to act allocate so just like
dolphins use sound sonar bats use echolocation they put out the sound
waves and then you can see in this diagram they’re giving out the sound
waves and then they’re actually listening for what the sound wave
bounces back to them and there are a few different types of sounds that they put
out there’s a search phase and you might have heard what it was like boom boom
boom boom almost like maybe a mallet hitting metal or something like that
that is the search phase so they’ll put out that long frequency high frequency
pitch sound we can’t hear it by the way it’s above our range of being able to
hear it you can actually feel the vibrations when there’s enough of them
around though so they’ve got that search phase when
they’re out there when they think they found something for them to eat they’ve
got that approach phase so let’s say that they’ve sensed through the racket
location that there might be a moth or a dragonfly or something out there that
they want to eat what they’ll do is they’ll go from search phase to approach
phase so it goes from boom boom to boom boom boom it just kind of speeds it up
and then finally when they get to that terminal phase that’s the raspberry
phase who knows what a raspberry you know yeah that’s the race I’ve never
heard raspberries and I never heard a call that we used to call you know
something else but um so they call it the raspberry noise and so when the bats
are echolocating out there they’ll do that search phase and then they’ll do
the approach phase when they’re getting close to it and then when they’re just
about ready to eat that insect they’ll they’ll raspberry so it’s always kind of
interesting what we’ll do is we’ll well listen to for the raspberries on our
audio and if you ever wanted to listen I’ve got a whole bunch I got this link
up here and this is not – Smithsonian’s and there are a whole bunch of different
bat echolocation calls up there so if you wanted to see what it looks like
this is what a typical the sound would look like for the big brown bat we don’t
have them Orlando we would have them but you kind of see where they’re up in kilo
Hertz at about 60 to about 30 kilo Hertz and they have that sound like that our
bats here in st. Lucie County if we were to use this we can modulate the
frequency we can also increase the sound when I’m doing groups of thirty people
on a night hike or something I will actually hook them up to external
speakers so everybody hears them and we actually have to go down a little bit in
frequency so we would never in st. Lucie County find bats of the 60 kilo Hertz up
there we have to go down to about twenty to thirty kilo Hertz and that’s just
because of the kind of bat that we have here there are plenty of resources out
there this website I’m not going to click on this but this website is a
place where you can actually get the frequencies so what somebody has done
sound Oh bat whoever that is what’s a nova has done is they publish
this research that they’ve gone out there and they’ve recorded a collocation
and then they’ve matched that up with the frequency that’s being put out and
they’ve also matched that up with the bat that they have out there so here in
st. Lucie County I just have the experience knowing that we probably have
Freetail bats flying around so I know that we’ve got him around 20 kilo hurst
about 30 kilo hertz and that would match up with the information on that as well
so if you’re ever out in Georgia or Virginia or someplace like that and
you’re using a bat detector like this and you hear bats
echolocating at about 50 kilo hertz you can go to this website this document and
you can find your general area and you can see oh yeah if it’s micro if it’s if
it’s got echolocation at about 50 kilohertz it’s probably this bat right
here so that’s how you can match that up so I had a student I teach the Florida
Master Naturalist program you can see it on my shirt I’m a walking billboard for
it and at the University of Florida we have the Master Naturalist program I
also work with the manna Thompson and Ren Underwood who are with environmental
resource department with st. Lucie County and we teach these Florida Master
Naturalist programs and we have students they have to take on final projects and
I always get really charged up really energized on the students that take my
projects you know as my they’re always either I’m gonna
have somebody out there Ringling pythons in the Everglades I which by the way I
have had them doing that or they’re gonna be out there for a final project
working on bats or something but you see that staining that is the bat guano
that’s the back one oh so they found the bats in those two bridges and then they
found one more bridge in st. Lucie over off the 25th Street st. James it’s near
Fort Pierce Central High School and you might not even realize you’re going over
a bridge but it’s there if you’re ever kayaking on the st. Lucie River you go
underneath that the st. Lucie River right underneath 25th Street right there
don’t ever open your mouth and look up at the same time because there are a lot
of bats down there and it looks somewhat like this so that’s standing so then
they were saying okay so we did this bat survey and we found the bats in these
bridges so now what they’re really ambitious they were only with me for
like six weeks doing all this work so what they did is they analyzed the guano
they wanted to find out about the fertilizer quality of the guano so I
work at UF obviously and then what we can do is we can have the the fertilizer
potential of the guano analyzed by the soil lab so we set a nice few bags of
guano by the way that’s normal that’s like a Monday for me okay I’ve had
coming to any other job I think you go to your work and you have bags of poo
plain on your desk that might not be a good sign but in my line of work it’s
like a Monday okay so one they brought it to my office and then I patched it up
and we sent it to Gainesville and the sample tested as a low-grade fertilizer
so essentially what’s happening is they’re out there eating a lot of the
insects at night not really a lot of the mosquitoes because that was one of the
misconceptions but the reading other insects which potentially could be crop
pests and so forth and one of the other interesting things that I thought there
is the Belcher canal right there so you’ve got the bats living over the
canal with all the guano going down into the water how does that really
contribute you know how many bridges do bats
live in that might have water going to the Ming River Lagoon you know do they
contribute in any way shape or form to the nitrogen and phosphorus that’s
getting into the estuary so I have all these research questions that I would
like to follow up with but uh who knows when I’ll have time for that
so essentially what they found is that the nitrogen equivalent is about 120
pounds per ton phosphorous is about 62 pounds per ton and potassium is about 15
pounds per ton so they found it to be a low grade
fertilizer so what you were gonna do if you’re ever gonna use the back 100 you
want to make sure you’re wearing a cup style mask because you know we talked
about rabies there are other diseases you can get from this just the aerosol
of having the guano aerosol eyes in a bag and you open it and pops it open so
you want to protect yourself but you would compost it first and then you
would amend it into your soil and you can’t post at first because you don’t
want anything green you want to completely decompose before you put it
into your soil so that’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about
bathua no and back when Kmart used to be done at Port st. Lucie we they were
living in the village green shopping center over there and we were gonna put
a bat house up over there and some of the bat people were gonna do that kind
of fell through but um it’s been kind of an interesting thing over these last
years of dealing with bats so if you’re a tile
Stellaluna is kind of like a given for those of us that are parents or have
nieces and nephews and that getting Stellaluna they will love that
Stellaluna book I also like the Florida’s fabulous serious
you’ve got Florida’s fabulous mammals you’ve also got for reptiles and
amphibians the thing about being somebody who’s studying reptiles in st.
Lucie County reptiles and amphibians so we have so many invasive things coming
in now that there’s a lot of stuff that’s off the books so you might have
this book that’s showing the natives but and we’ll never show the agamas the
red-headed lizards that are crawling around all over and we’ll show the curly
tails it’ll show the stuff that should be out there with maybe one or two pages
of the invasive stuff so this is the UF bat house this is in Gainesville
and so they had a problem with the bats in one of the buildings on campus and
they built this bat house and they had to kind of corn it off so people aren’t
gonna go underneath that if you look over here to this side I’m not sure if
it’s east-west or whatever if you’re looking as to your right the student
gardens are there so for a small amount like twenty dollars a year or something
the students can get a small plot of land and they confirm their crops on
that land right next to the bat house which I thought was kind of really nice
and they have about 300,000 Brazilian Freetail bats living in there and also
evening bats and the southern myotis so I have this video clip we’ll see if this
works I went out there right before it got dark out and I took these video
clips one of the interesting things about this
is you’ll have the owls and the Hawks hanging out right by this see they just keep coming I’m not exactly sure probably Mexican
free-tailed but I’m not 100% sure we have a slightly different type of bat
here they just yeah they just keep coming so what was happening before the bats
started coming out have you guys heard of the kids of color girl have you heard
of that new emotion called angry you’re hangry you know what is that that’s that
was an emotion that did not involve it evolved until this generation came up
but it’s a combination of being so hungry you’re angry that’s called hangry
you know well there was a red shouldered Hawk that was hanging out at the tip of
that bat house and it was a hangry Hawk so what was happening is about five
o’clock in the winter time well what’s happening is he was going from the top
underneath the bottom of the bat the Batchelor coming out of the bottom and
he was banging on this like dinner I’m hungry come on it’s dinner I’m hangry
come out now and he just kept hanging around he kept doing this dance from the
top to the bottom to the top again and then you saw where all the bats were
streaming out so what they do is they stream out from the bat house all the
way to they make a break to the trees there and then they go to some one of
the lakes that’s across the street and then they all kind of dispersed from
there and they do have the mosquito weeders up in that general area so on so
that is the you left that house it’s really interesting they’ve got
bleachers up there well I don’t know if I’m gonna be able
to get my PowerPoint back here let’s see here
I was almost finished anyhow so these are so the facts about that bat colony the
back huh so they put up two of them there were about 300,000 in the one and
then they built the other one next to it now the one that’s up their head the
bottom actually collapse out of it so they I think they did a repair job on it
and they built the second one and now they have about 750,000 bats in their
nightly upset consumption it’s about 2.5 billion insects it’s 2,500 pounds I
can’t even imagine what that would look like I mean you would fill this room up
with the number of insects that they would be eating and the type of insects
they consume moths beetles mosquitoes flies gnats and so forth so I mean these
are the good guys to have around us it’s just unfortunately down here I wish we
had the mosquito eaters for mosquito control purposes you know when we have
Zika popping up last year I would have loved to have been you know asking
people to put bad houses up it’s just we don’t have the right kind of bad
so you

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