Let's Hang: Bats in New York State
A popular animal in October, bats are often misunderstood. Do you find bats chilling? Consider giving these voracious insect-eating creatures another chance.
New York is home to nine species of bats. Six--the Northern Bat, Little Brown Bat, Big Brown Bat, Indiana Bat, Eastern Pipistrelle, and Small-footed Bat--are cave bats and live in places such as the rock crevices at Minnewaska State Park Preserve and under bridges at Peebles Island State Park. The other three species of bats--the Red Bat, Hoary Bat, and Silver-haired Bat--are tree bats.. For more information about bats in New York State, check out an interesting publication here.
Although Chiropterans don't usually fall into the category of cute furry animals, they are extremely important. All native New York bats are insect eaters and can eat 20-50 percent of their weight in insects in one night alone. Thus they are a natural solution to pesticides. The next time you take a walk outside and are not bothered by mosquitoes make sure to thank a bat!
The time to view bats is fast closing as they begin to hibernate or migrate during the fall due to the drop in temperature and the decline of insects.
In the spirit of the season many state parks and historic sites are holding bat programs. Here;'s a sampling:
- Animals of the Night at Sterling Forest State Park on October 12
- Batty for Bats at Thacher State Park on October 13 & 27
- Bats! at Point au Roche State Park on October 19
- Little Explorers - Bats! at Point au Roche State Park on October 21
- Tiny Tots Nature Discoveries: Bats are all that! at Connetquot River State Park Preserve on October 22
- Batty about Bats at Grafton Lakes State Park on October 27
Additionally, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says the best places to see Little Brown Bats, the most common New York bat, is at Allegany State Park, Bashakill Wildlife Management Area, Buttermilk Falls State Park, Chenango Valley State Park, and Five Rivers Environmental Education Center.
A Small Brown Bat just hangin' | © Al Hicks, NYSDEC