What is a bat maternity colony?
Bats roost within colonies in safe, warm and dark places, like caves, abandoned mine shafts, trees, abandoned buildings, or human households. Bats will hibernate during the winter, and while this period lasts, they will sleep most of the time. During the summer time, bats will mate, and by the late summer, some species of bats will already nurture babies to their full independence. Maternity season in bats begins during the summer, when males and females will mate. During the gestation period, female bats will change their behavior and relocate to insure that their offspring comes safely into to world.
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After the mating season for bats is over, pregnant females will form a maternity colony. A maternity colony consists out of usually 40 pregnant female bats, who will abandon their initial colony and join together to form a new group. This group of females will occupy a new space to form their colony, and they will seek places that are safe, warm and dark to bring their babies into the world. Each female bat will give birth to a one single pup, which will double the maternity colony to a size of 80 bats. Within these colonies, mothers will nurture their pups until they are ready to fly and live on their own.
A maternity colony is a safe place for female bats to support each during the period of the pregnancy and taking care of their babies. They will keep each other warm by huddling against one another and giving birth in the approximately the same time. Mother bats need this form of privacy in order to provide protection to their newborns, as they are small, tender and vulnerable. At the beginning, mothers will not leave their babies side, and they will constantly feed them and keep them warm. Since bats are mammals, pups will suck on their mother as their primary source of food. As the babies grow stronger, mother bats will start to fly out of the roost and hunt, leaving their babies alone.
Bat maternity colonies ar often protected by law, because of the significant role that bat play in the controlling the number of insects and pests within the ecosystems. This means that disturbing, removal or killing bats or pup from the maternity colonies is punishable by law. If a maternity colony of bats inhabits a home, which they sometimes do, owners are usually left with one choice, and that is to tolerate the colony during the summer, as they will eventually relocate.
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