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Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program provides housing for 10,000 bats.


Highlights in Conservation icon

Weaver Bat Condo

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program provides housing for 10,000 bats.
 

Image of bat condo being set on posts by a crew from the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council.

Bat condo being set on posts by a crew from the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council.

Location icon
Little Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane

Project Summary icon
A bat condo was constructed to provide housing for 10,000 bats.

Conservation Partners icon
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Inland Northwest Wildlife Council.

Resource Challenges icon
A bat waste "guano" issue in the attic (up to three feet deep) was causing an offensive odor in the house. There may have been a structural concern due to large amounts of waste in the attic. Another challenge was that the location is a cultural resources hot spot.

Conservation Program Used icon
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)

Innovations and Highlights icon
The bat condo was developed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to accommodate about 10,000 bats. Not your typical bat house.

Results and Accomplishments icon
Mike Weaver and his family purchased his grandparents residence (purchased in the 1940s) along the Little Spokane River in 2004. The residence was built in the late 1800s for use as a hunting cabin. Given the home's rich history, Mike opted to get it on the State Register of Historic Properties.

The house had not been lived in for about five years prior to Mike and his family moving in; that’s not to say it was vacant. Over the years, a colony of “little brown” (species) bats were living in the attic.  Mike tells the amusing story of the summer evening routine. “Just about the time they’re preparing for bed, like clockwork, a couple of bats would find their way into the living room. The bats would dive and dart around trying to find their way out. My wife and I would chase the bats around with nets until we would catch them and they would then be released outside.

Mike decided if he’s going to keep his wife happy, not to mention himself, he would have to do something about the bats. He had a biologist come out and assess the situation. That’s when he found out that the bat colony was estimated at about 10,000. He knew how beneficial they were for controlling insects so he started looking for some help to provide these critters an alternate home. That’s when he found the the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and applied for the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). Plans for the bat condo were obtained from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, who had completed extensive research into the design. It was a very complex and detailed design that took some highly skilled craftsmen to construct. The Inland Northwest Wildlife Council constructed the 8’x8’x8’ structure that is perched 8’ off the ground. They had a volunteer workforce consisting of skilled craftsman that paid close attention to details, right down to the aspect of the structure being situated at 135o to the southeast. Both sides of the plywood also had to be roughened in order for the bats to hang on with their little feet. That’s over 5,500 square feet of roosting area! There is also an open area within the structure for flight training the young.

After the bats leave this fall Mike plan’s to seal all remaining entrances to his attic and hopes the bats will enjoy their new home. The Weaver’s deserve kudos for their wildlife concern and commitment. With out it, there would be some 10,000 homeless bats out there. That is assuming the “If you build it they will come” works in this case. The Weaver’s also deserve kudos for preserving a historic property and the hard work it takes to bring it back to its past grandeur.

Contact icon
Mike Weaver, Cooperator, (509) 466-5272

NRCS, Fall 2008