A-Camping We Will Go

Baturday News is a weekly blog written by Rachael, a middle school student and Save Lucy volunteer. Rachael’s interest in bats was sparked by the big brown bats that used the outside of her former home for a winter roost. Her family cheerfully hosted the wild colony for years.

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! I am very happy because I am going to be going camping this weekend! I am very excited because I will be in the woods and I might get to see some bats. It’s going to be cold, though, which makes me sad because the bats might not want to come out for very long. I wouldn’t want to be cold if I were them either, which is why I’m packing fleece, fleece and more fleece. Even if I don’t get to see any bats, I’ll at least be able to talk to my fellow campers about them. Most of the people I’m camping with don’t feel too comfortable around bats, so I’ll just have to alleviate some fears. I really do hope I see some. It would make the freezing cold a little more bearable.

A photograph of an eastern small footed bat
Eastern Small Footed bat. Photo from Gary Peeples/USFWS

I wanted to know what kind of bats live where I am going, so I did some research. One of the bats that live there (around Harrisonburg, VA) is the Eastern Small-footed bat. It doesn’t live where I live, so it will be a brand new bat for me, if I see one. I think I might have written about them before. I love the name “small-footed bat!” I think it makes them sound adorable. The Eastern Small-footed bat is the smallest bat in the eastern US. It is only 2 7/8 – 3 ¼ inches long. It has chestnut brown fur with some black accents. And of course it has small feet, but it also has short little forearms and a flat skull. They have a slow flight and are mostly seen in late summer in flocks of migrating bats. I guess that means I might not see one…it’s not really summer anymore. They are found in heavily forested areas (good for me), mountain regions (good for me), and most of the time in caves (I’m not camping in a cave, so bad for me), and in hemlock forests (I have no idea what kind of trees will be there). Caves are the only known place that they stay in winter. It’s not quite winter yet, so maybe I have a chance. I really want to see some.

I hope you all have a good week. If I see any interesting creatures, I’ll let you all know.

A photograph of an eastern small footed bat stiing on a researcher
Please don't handle bats with bare hands. But we wanted you to see just how tiny small footed bats really are. Photo by J Albert Bauer.


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