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Old 12-29-2008, 08:43 AM   #1
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purple martin/bat house pros and cons?


i'm thinking of making and putting up a purple martin/bat house sort of like this i drew up in www.photofiltre.com (freeware!) of course, it'll have to be taller than shown, by about twice as much. it just seemed to me if bats and birds get along so well, and do not share parasites, why not build a house like this to put up on a 15 or 20 ft. steel pole? both seem to prefer the same locations and same venting/heating/cooling setups for the houses.
i can also collect the guano for fertilizer.

anyone with knowledge of either critter feel free to comment.

DM
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:46 AM   #2
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purple martin/bat house pros and cons?


DangerMouse:

I've never built a bat house, but I know little about them and will tell you what I know:

1. You've got the baffles in the bat house all wrong. The baffles go PARALLEL to the front and back of the bat house, not perpendicular to them. There should be 3/4 to 1 inch of space between the baffles. Take a look at the second last photo on this web page:

http://www.batmanagement.com/Orderin...enChamber.html

Both sides of each baffles and all interior surfaces of the bat house need to be rough so the bats can climb up inside it.

2. You need a "landing plate" where bats can land and crawl up into the bat house. This web page shows an angled landing plate and a hole in the bottom of the bat house for the bats to get in:

http://www.wap.atfreeweb.com/bats/bat-house6.html

Bats have strong sharp claws and don't need a near horizontal surface to land on. The actually prefer a vertical surface to land on, like this:

http://www.wap.atfreeweb.com/bats/bat-house8.html

And, of course a bottom to the box and any angled landing plate under the box is going to get caked up with guano before long.

You don't need a landing plate sticking out the bottom of your bat house. You can just have your baffle plate bottoms about 3 to 6 inches above the bottom of the bat house, and the entire interior of the bottom of the bat house then becomes one large landing plate.

3. You need ventilation holes on at least the front of the bat house, and

4. you don't want the interior baffles to extend all the way to the roof of the bat house. You want the bats to be able to move between the roosting chambers of the bat house both at the top and the bottom of the bat house.

And, bats are social creatures. They prefer the presence of other bats. So the larger the bat house is, the more bats can be accomodated in it, and the more attractive the bat house is to a potential bat house hunter.

Here's some useful guidelines:

http://www.batcon.org/pdfs/bathouses...secriteria.pdf

http://www.dof.virginia.gov/wildlife/bats.shtml

http://www.batmanagement.com/Batcent...IApproved.html

I'd suggest you go to Bat Conservation International's web site at:

http://www.batcon.org

to learn more about bats and bat houses. You should find links to companies that make bat houses and sell them online. But, beware as bats are very particular about their habitat and won't occupy a bat house that isn't to their liking.

I've been told that this company makes very good bat houses:

http://www.maberrybat.com/index.php

But, they're made out of steel and quite expensive. I expect that if you e-mailed the guy, he might be willing to give you advice on building your own wooden bat house.
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Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 12-30-2008 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:04 PM   #3
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I have several bat houses that a customer paid me to take down

All were full of bats and none had the "landing plate" but the back wall of the house extended down about 4 inches further than the others to give them something to land on

the local colledge did a study over several years and determined that bats are not as likely as people think to go into the houses

I mounted two at my mothers and they were abandoned the next day and never resettled

I mounted one of the empty ones they had in storage in my back yard ibn a very bat prone area and where I regularly release trapped bats
To date none have taken up residence
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:49 AM   #4
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purple martin/bat house pros and cons?


Bats can have rabies. There are some cases of rabid bats biting and infecting humans. And you only get rabies once. (I think there are one or two people that have survived getting rabies, but this is obviously rare.)

That being said, I would put a bat house in my yard. But we rarely have our windows opens and don't have a chimney.
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:15 PM   #5
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purple martin/bat house pros and cons?


It's true that bats can have rabies and transmit those rabies to a person by biting them. The other side of the coin is that just like every veteranarian and animal control officer, you can get pre-vaccinated against rabies. Once immunized against rabies, you'd have to have your blood checked once every two years or so to ensure that your vaccination is still effective.

http://www.publichealthgreybruce.on....reExposure.htm

The obvious benefit of having a bat house in the neighborhood is to eliminate flying pests like moths and mosquitos so you can better enjoy your property during the summer. I had an aunt that lived in a neighborhood where one person had a bat house with a family of bats in it. The entire neighborhood was aware that the lack of mosquitos in the summer was because of those bats. It allowed her to enjoy her back porch in the summer, she could mow her lawn in the summer without being pestered by them, she could garden without being bitten.

Bats and people can form a symbiotic relationship (where both parties benefit), it's just that people consider bats to be "ugly". And, of course there's that standard dogma about "vampire bats" that will suck your blood. Truth is that there are bats that do suck the blood of animals, typically birds and livestock, but they live in southern Mexico, Central America and northern South America. There are no known natural colonies of vampire bats in the US or Canada.

I just think that we humans can be smart enough to overcome our aversion to bats to gain the benefit of being able to enjoy our summers without having to use DEET to protect ourselves from mosquitos.

Dragon flies eat mosquitos, but bats will eat everything in the air smaller than a humming bird.
If DangerMouse is considering building a bat house, I'm wondering if taking up a neighborhood collection and buying a well built one would be more likely to work than building one himself. Bats are very particular about where they nest, and I'm thinking that someone with ample experience making bat houses is likely to make a better house than you'd get by relying on beginner's luck.
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:22 PM   #6
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Pre exposure inoculation sounds good if you say it fast
But those shots are $1100 and typically not covered by insurance

Post exposure shots are $1300 and have to be given at no charge if you say you can not afford them

Most of us working in those at risk fields choose to wait for the free shots
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:49 PM   #7
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purple martin/bat house pros and cons?


As I mentioned, I would put a bat house in my yard, just wanted to toss out another factor to consider.

I had the opportunity to get the shots gratis when I worked for a vet, but declined. Probably should have done it, I have spent a lot of time working with animals, especially feral cats.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:55 AM   #8
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no-one to collect from way out here.... nearest neighbor is way away..

vampire bats do NOT suck blood, they nip and lick.

so, i'm thinking no-one has an answer for me? is there any reason this idea WON'T work? all i'm asking is if anyone's done this before or why i shouldn't waste my time. seems to me 2 good mosquito hunters are better then one. day/night shifts, as it were.

and i know the boards have to go the other way for the bats. just no way to show them in that position and have it understood.
lots of CONFLICTING info on those bat-links too... seems to work either way.

stay tuned for more adventures! same bat-time, same bat-channel!

DM
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:56 AM   #9
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Go for it!! I think its an excellent idea. I had bats in the chimey of the house where I live,,,THAT made me sick, rain water soaked it all the time,,no chimney cap,and it stunk to high heaven. I cleaned the chimney,,,capped it with a 80 lb block of cement and whalla,,no more stink,,since its dry all the time. I lived before where either had bats or owls who kept ALL skeeters out of there,,,how NICE,,,had barn swallows too. they swooped and fed all day!! Anytime you walked thru the lawn grass kicking up bugs they were there,eatting away! and they swoop close!!

But keeping bats in a space they didnt bother me,,,a win-win!! Build it and they will come!! Going to be hard to gather guano tho. had bats in an old mobile home I tore down last year ,,,would have gladly gave those to you!! They didnt like me for tearing down there house!! Still had alot of skeeters there tho!!
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Old 01-07-2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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purple martin/bat house pros and cons?


Nestor I believe hails from the mosquito capital of the world so bet on his info especially if the aunt lived nearby.
We actually watch the bats flying / circling among the fruit trees apple and plumb in our backyard on summer nites while sitting on our patio and there is hardly a mosquito in sight when they're around. Nice quiet neighbours.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:50 PM   #11
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purple martin/bat house pros and cons?


The only reason I can think of for them not getting along would be if the purple martins are protective of their offspring, they might not like the bats nearby and the same with the bats and their babies. I'm not saying that's a fact, I'm only guessing. But, like you mentioned with the day/night shift, they may get along fine. And, it just may be that nobody else has ever thought of it or tried it. It couldn't hurt to put one up and see what happens with it over the next couple of years. I think it can take a couple years for purple martins to move in to a new house. That would be a neat birdhouse to have and fun to watch.

I have a cement block chimney on the south side of my house. The bats living on it are the only reason we keep it there as it is not used. There is a gap of about 5-6" between the house and the chimney. The last few times I counted there were about 10-15 of them up there.

How do you use the guana (what other birds, animals, etc. have a special name for their poop )? There is a lot of it directly below them, but I thought you weren't suppose to go near it (must be a myth).
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:30 AM   #12
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purple martin/bat house pros and cons?


guanO is great fertilizer, like chickenpoop =o)

hmmm......
bear scat
owl pellets
cow pies/patties
horse- road apples
you're right!

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Old 01-15-2009, 07:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
bear scat
owl pellets
cow pies/patties
horse- road apples
That's a bunch o' crap. .....
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