Bat Hibernation: When, Where, How Long?

Bats move around a lot throughout the year, often moving from roost to roost in order to find the one that best suits the needs of the colony at that time. There are many different species of bat, and each will have its own habitat preferences, but attics seem to be a firm of favourite for those bats that live across America. As well as spaces such as caves and hollowed trees, attics are a prime target for a forming colony. Learn more about: Bat Calendar: One Year in the Life of a Bat

During the summer months, bats form colonies that are almost like maternity colonies - groups of female bats all together, either pregnant, or just had their babies. They need warm and safe spaces for this, and because they club together, they have safety in numbers. The bat will pregnant for a few weeks, usually between six and nine, and the females will stay together with their fellow expecting and new-mama bats in the maternity colony. They will continue to stay there for a few weeks after the bat pup has been born (there is usually only one), and during feeding and weaning too - usually around five or six weeks. Once those babies are old enough to fly and catch their own food, they are free to live their own lives and the mother soon moves on.

When the temperatures start to plummet and the winter looks like it might be coming, bats go on the move. Read about: Bat Migration: Where Do Bats Go In Winter? They prefer warmer temperatures, and they find it very difficult to cope with the winter months. Not only is the temperature too cold for them, they use a lot of energy flying around to try and find food, and food is incredibly scarce. This hibernation period, known as torpor or a very deep sleep, enables the bat to stay alive for the winter, either though it isn't actually doing anything. The metabolic rate will slow down within the body after the body temperature is lowered and the bat falls asleep, and they survive by the body using the fat reserves they have stored up in the months leading up to winter. Much like bears, really. They gorge before the winter, and when winter comes, they have enough fat to keep them through until it is time to wake up again.

When bats hibernate, they prefer cooler spaces, such as caves. They need a regular and well maintained temperature in order to hibernate.

Do bats poop when they hibernate? Bats do not metabolize food or go through the digestion process during hibernation. So no, bats do not poop during hibernation.

Bats are well studied but we don't really know where the bats go in winter. Some of the colonies have been tracked, but there are some species that leave no clue as to their whereabouts. It is not generally considered the norm for bats to set up home in your attic during the winter. Instead, it will be during the summer that they do this. Your attic provides the perfect spot for those maternity roosts we were telling you about earlier on, but it would probably be too cold there for the animals to survive during the winter. However, if there is no chance of a predator getting inside, it is warm, the humidity is right, and you rarely go up there, your attic is the perfect home for a bat any time of the year. That's why it important to take care of your home throughout the year, making sure that no patches of damage can allow for wild animal invasion.

Learn more about Bats in the attic