Have you ever seen a bat in person?
Lots of people have seen them in zoos or other scenarios, but there is truly nothing like seeing a bat fly in the wild. It often takes us by surprise, but that little dark, fluttery silhouette is so distinct and very cool to see in person.
If you are fascinated by bats and want more opportunities to see them in the wild, here are some tips on how to go bat-watching!
The first tip for bat-watching is knowing where to go. In North America, there are various species of bats in different regions. Take a moment to look up which bat lives in your area and where they’re typically located.
A good place to start is near a body of water like lakes, ponds, or even near canals, as you may see some bats swoop down near the water to grab a drink. You’ll also want to avoid being close to any bright lights, as bats prefer the dark and tend to steer away from bright street lights.
As many of us know, bats are nocturnal, so you’ll want to get your timing right. You’ll want to arrive at your chosen location just before the sun sets, as many bat species like to head out to find some food at dusk.
Lots of bats feed on insects like moths, so if you know of a space near you that’s close to the water and always has bugs flying around, it may sound unpleasant, but it is probably an excellent place to spot a bat.
If you need to take a flashlight to get a better view of where you’re going, be sure to keep your flashlight pointed low. You want to avoid pointing your light directly at bats, whether they’re in flight or near the roots where they rest, as you can throw them off course and discourage them from wanting to go out again.
Don’t forget to stay safe and vigilant, especially if you’re in a more remote area with rough terrain. Travel with a friend and pay attention to where you’re going, as it starts to get dark when you’re bat-watching.