Despite their name, Indiana bats can be found across much of the eastern United States. Unfortunately, this species of bat is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their numbers have dropped more than 50 percent since the 1960s, from around 880,000 to roughly 390,000 in 2003. If you're concerned about their decline, there are several things you can do to help these bats increase their numbers.
Do Not Disturb
Indiana bats are very sensitive to being disturbed during hibernation, and this is one of the biggest reasons for their decline in numbers. These bats usually hibernate in caves, or occasionally in abandoned mines, but if they're disturbed by humans they may wake up and use up too much of the energy they've stored to make it through the winter. If you know of a cave containing Indiana bats, make sure you don't enter it. You could also suggest to the landowner or local government official that proper gates be installed to block access to the cave.
Install a Bat House
Indiana bats like to roost and raise their young inside, or under the bark of, dead and dying trees. As more homeowners remove these dead trees from their gardens, these bats have fewer appropriate places to roost. You can help out your local Indiana bats by putting a bat house in your garden or on any other land your own. They're relatively easy to build yourself but are also available to buy ready made.
Avoid Use of Pesticides
The excessive use of pesticides and other agricultural and horticultural chemicals is another reason why Indiana bats are endangered. These chemicals can poison the insects that these bats then eat and can also contaminate their sources of water. Try to avoid using any pesticides or other harsh chemicals in your garden. The more people who avoid using them, the more safe water and food will be available for the bats.
One of the best ways you can help Indiana bats is to educate others about their plight. People can't help if they don't know how to do so. In fact, they may not even know these bats need their help. Talk to your friends and relatives and tell them how they can help to save these creatures who play a vital role in the ecosystem by controlling the insect population and adding nutrients, via their waste matter, to the cave environment.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images