In 2013, a large “bat condo” was built at Oak Openings Preserve, with supplies funded by Metroparks Members. The “condo” provides a very important and safe place for female big brown and little brown bats to roost and form a maternity colony to rear their young. During the spring and summer, this structure can hold thousands of these bats species.
Not long after the structure was built, approximately 75 bats (identified as big brown bats, using Anabat detectors) moved in. They were counted as they emerged from the condo. Of the estimated 1,000 species of bats worldwide, there are 11 species found in Ohio; eight of those are found in the Oak Openings Region.
Due to declining numbers as a result of habitat loss and a disease called White-nose Syndrome, many species of bats in Ohio are now listed as Species of Concern. White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease, has devastated populations of cave bats (those that hibernate in caves during the winter) such as little brown bats, northern long-eared bats and big brown bats. For the last three years, researchers from Bowling Green State University have partnered with Metroparks volunteers at Wildwood, Secor and Oak Openings to monitor bat populations in these areas.
It is important to conserve our bat species, as they play a very important ecological role as major predators of night flying insects, like mosquitoes and agricultural pests.