At the latest meeting of the local naturalist's club, Parks Canada revealed Banff's most recent nature discovery: the first bat hibernaculum in the park! A hibernaculum is a nifty scrabble word for a den, cave, or any other hibernation location. Since bats are voracious bug eaters, come winter, they either have to fly far enough south to find flying insects, or find a cave to hole up in.
|Bat (probably a little brown bat) hibernating in a cave in Banff|
National Park. Photo by Tim McAllister, Parks Canada
The identity of the bat is not known for certain, but the size suggests it is a little brown bat, one of seven species found in the park. Bats are not everyone's cup of tea, but we thought this little guy or gal was pretty cute. If you're bat-phobic, and we can't change your mind with a picture, it's worth remembering that bats eat their own body weight in insects each night, and that includes mosquitoes! So here's a toast to both Banff's bats and the joy of discovery. Who knows what nature will reveal next?