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Extremely rare bat ‘spotted’ in Chilliwack

Female spotted bat is recovering from being dehydrated, underweight

It wasn’t a bird or a plane that landed on a balcony in Chilliwack.

Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. was alerted to an unusual-looking bat found on a balcony in Chilliwack that turned out to be an extremely rare spotted bat.

According to an Oct. 9 statement from the Wildlife Rescue Association, the bat’s finder left the bat alone overnight to see if it would fly away on its own, which was the correct thing to do. The bat did not fly off, and a volunteer specializing in bat rescue recovered the bat the following day.

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“It was at first sight that our enthusiastic wildlife experts realized that the bat is a spotted bat, an extremely rare species!” the statement reads. “Fortunately, a thorough exam revealed that this bat had no major injuries. She was just dehydrated and underweight.”

Named for the distinctive white spots on their backs, spotted bats are not normally found in the eastern Fraser Valley. The closest they are known to live is in the Fraser Canyon North of Lytton and in the Skagit Valley past Manning Park. Nature Conservancy Canada estimates there are 1,000 spotted bat adults in all of Canada. While that small population is stable, it is threatened by habitat disruption and other human activities in addition to a decline in insect populations. Spotted bats primarily eat moths, flies and beetles, feeding about an hour after sunset before returning to its roost.

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Even more curious, the spotted bat has never been known to roost on human structures, preferring instead to live exclusively on cliffs. It’s not unusual this particular bat was found alone as they are usually solitary, which is not typical of most bat species. Also unlike other species, the spotted bat relies on low-frequency echolocation to find its prey, making them the only species of bat in Canada that humans can hear while they echolocate.

The bat found in Chilliwack will be in recovery for the next few weeks, receiving proper nutrition and hydration therapy before being released back into the wild.


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Adam Louis

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