MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, NC --
Eptesicus Fuscus, commonly known as the big brown bat, is found throughout the U.S., and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is no different.
North Carolina is home to thousands of bats consisting of 16 different species, some are endangered but the common big brown bat is found across the state.
The nocturnal winged animals love to roost in cool dark areas like undersides of bridges, in caves, hollowed out trees and under loose bark. The big brown bat also has the tendency to nest inside the walls because it serves as a cool, safe shelter to raise their young.
Martin Korenek, the wildlife manager for the land and wildlife resources section of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, said bats may get in the soffits because of some of the structural requirements of certain buildings. Although the bats can get in, they are rarely seen and very harmless.
“If they don’t have natural cavities like dead trees, they’re going to find something else,” said Korenek.
Camp Lejeune’s land and wildlife resource section is attempting to solve the batty habitation in the walls of some of the buildings on base. An exclusion device was developed in order to keep the bats out of buildings with weep holes. The exclusion device’s shape allows bats who already made the building their home the inability to re-enter it.
The big brown bats only tend to be found in the area during the summer months due to their breeding season. The bats build nurseries with other bats in a place they find suitable and then leave. Korenek said by August 1 the breeding season for the big brown bat is over and the application of the exclusion devices is suitable.
The big brown bats are seemingly harmless, but with the species being known to carry the rabies disease, any human who comes in contact with the bats should get vaccinated. A post-exposure vaccine consists of a series of three shots.
Korenek stated, back in the old days some people may have heard of a horrible treatment associated to being exposed to rabies but said it’s no longer like that.
Many individuals may find bats disgusting or scary, but in fact, they have a very positive impact on the area.
Korenek said the big brown bat is an insectivore, meaning they only eat insects. The big brown bat is known to eat thousands of insects per night, insects that can carry diseases like West Nile and Yellow Fever.
The big brown bat only occupies the Jacksonville area during their breeding season and with it being rarely seen its reputation of a hideous monster is beginning to change.