Sierra Club BC
Say Hellooooo to Some Spooky Species!
October is no stranger to cloudy weather, howling winds and creepy crawlies. Here is one spooky species that weighs only 6 to 8 grams: the Keen’s Long-eared Bat. At a tiny 2 centimetres long, this mammal’s ears are about one-quarter the size of its body. And you thought your class photo was awkward!
What it looks like: 2 centimetres long, with dark brown wings and fur. It has a light brown belly and dark spots on its shoulders.
What it eats: moths, beetles, flies, and other insects. Yum!
Where it lives: almost entirely in coastal British Columbia, though some have been spotted in Alaska and Washington. A large majority are found on Haida Gwaii and Vancouver Island.
Daytime yogis: bats are nocturnal, so in the daylight hours you can find these mammals in rock crevices and hollow trees, hanging upside down (talk about zen!). They also hibernate in the winter.
What’s at-risk: Keen’s Long-eared Bats love the old-growth and mature forests of B.C. Activities such as logging and mineral extraction not only compromise their habitat, but industrial noise and shaking can affect their roosting (group naptime) or raising of young. The Keen’s Long-eared Bat is on the provincial Red List in B.C. (endangered or threatened) and designated as a species of Special Concern throughout Canada by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). In 2003, COSEWIC noted there is insufficient data on these tiny mammals.
How you can help:
- B.C.’s coastal temperate rainforests are prime habitat for Keen’s Long-eared Bats. Reduce your paper consumption by reducing, reusing and recycling.
- Did you know plastic is made from fossil fuels (and releases lots of CO₂ and air pollution into the atmosphere)? Paper bags are also not very forest-friendly. Collect your tricks or treats in a pillowcase or cloth bag this year.
- Trying to make a spooky costume? Instead of buying new materials, give new life to old objects. Or shop at thrift stores before purchasing new materials.
- Build a bat box! This home for bats is a fun project that everyone will enjoy. Follow the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s instructions on their website.
- If you spot a bat, give it space. It’s always exciting to see wildlife, but unless you are a trained expert, you should never try to touch a bat or save an injured one. Notify a professional and follow their instructions.
Other Spooky Species in B.C.:
Burrowing Owl: endangered (COSEWIC status), found in the southern interior of B.C.
Coastal Giant Salamander: threatened (COSEWIC status), found in the Lower Mainland of B.C.
Dark Saltflat Tiger Beetle: endangered (COSEWIC status), living near Okanagan Falls, Oliver and Penticton. The Royal BC Museum reports that the beetle species has not been spotted recently.
Desert Night Snake: endangered (COSEWIC status), it is the rarest snake in Canada, found in the Southern Okanagan Valley and Lower Similkameen Valley of B.C.
Sharp-tailed Snake: endangered (COSEWIC status), found in coastal, southwestern B.C.
~ Copied from the Sierra Club, B.C.
Photo Credit: Tim Gage Flickr Account