Coastside Land Trust will be hosting a workshop and field identification this Saturday devoted to the world’s only flying mammal: bats.
These nocturnal creatures are likely not often observed by the Coastside’s human residents, says Jo Chamberlain, executive director for the conservation-minded nonprofit. However, she says she knows that they’re around.
In fact, Chamberlain credits the bats for keeping the mosquito population down near her home in the hills south of downtown Half Moon Bay.
Coastside Land Trust has held previous workshops on birds, wildflowers, green burials and other topics, says Chamberlain, but Saturday’s event will be the first to feature these expert echolocators.
“The purpose of all of our workshops is to open our thoughts about how animals are contributing to our environment and our comfort and our community,” Chamberlain said.
Bats sometimes get a bad rap. People often view them as dirty or diseased, but experts argue that incidence of rabies is lower than one might imagine. That rate averages around one case in every 1,000 to 2,000 individual bats, says bat specialist Greg Tatarian who will be leading the back-to-back workshop and field identification events on Saturday. Tatarian says the rates could actually be far less than that because a dead bat found on the ground is often more likely to have died from rabies compared to all the healthy bats still flying in the sky.
Chamberlain notes that a bat isn’t likely to bite a human unless that person is trying to pick up or otherwise disturb the bat.