Bat Week takes flight in Alberta

Hoary bats have multi-coloured fur with white tips that look like "hoar-frost" which is how they got their name. They are the largest bats in Canada and usually roost in tall trees. Photo: Cory Olson, Alberta Community Bat Program.

To encourage young Albertans to learn about – and respect – the province’s many bat species, the province is holding a colouring and drawing contest to coincide with Bat Week. From Oct. 24 to Nov. 4, young Albertans are encouraged to draw and colour a picture of bats in Alberta, and to share their drawings with the Ministry of Environment and Parks. 

Bats have a positive effect on our province – they control insect populations, help pollinate plants and can spread seeds that help restore forests. Every year, during the last week of October, people around the world celebrate Bat Week to raise awareness about the need to protect bats and to dispel common myths about these flying mammals.

“In addition to being fascinating animals, bats play an important role in keeping our provincial ecosystem and economy thriving. I’m looking forward to seeing the creativity of Alberta’s young people and fostering a better understanding of bats in the province.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

The winner will be selected via random draw and announced on Twitter (@AB_Enviro) the week of November 4. Albertans can be as creative as they wish with their drawings – they don’t need to stick to black and white, and can show bats in any part of our province.

“We all need to understand the importance of bats in our ecosystem and learn how we can contribute to help protect their habitat to ensure they survive.”

Lisa Wilkinson, senior species at risk biologist and provincial bat specialist, Environment and Parks

To submit your drawing

Submissions can be sent via social media, by tweeting @AB_Enviro and using #AbBatWeek. Drawings can also be emailed to jess.sinclair@gov.ab.ca  or can be sent to the address below:

323 Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2B6

Please send submissions by Nov. 4. All submissions are subject to FOIP and winners agree to their artwork and name being made public on government media channels. 

Quick facts

  • Bats are not rodents; they belong to a group of mammals called Chiroptera, which means ‘hand wing.’
  • Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly.
  • As insectivores, bats feed heavily on moths, beetles and mosquitoes and consume forest and farm pests. In fact, a single little brown bat can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour.
  • Bats are not blind – in fact, all bats can see. They also have an excellent navigation system that helps them find their prey in the dark.
  • During the summer, bats roost in trees (under bark, in cavities, among foliage), in rock crevices and sometimes in buildings.
  • Alberta winters are tough for bats. That’s why some bats are snowbirds and migrate south for the winter.
    • However, most of our bats hibernate in Alberta, using caves and cracks and crevices in rocks.
  • A deadly fungal disease called White-nose Syndrome has killed millions of hibernating bats in eastern North America. The fungus is spreading west, so it is important that we protect Alberta bats and their habitats.

For more interesting information about bats, please visit: www.alberta.ca/bats.aspx


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