Saturday, 5 September 2015

Bat Shack

After  years of evicting bats & bat-proofing human houses I decided to build a BIG bat house and to try to entice some bats to move in.  The BAT CONDO (Jane) or BAT SHACK (Noa) incorporates some of the 'flaws' I've observed in human houses that make them appealing to bats. 

It's essentially a small (4' x 8') house on stilts with entrances at places that bats often use to enter a human dwelling -  things like loose flashing (e.g. around chimney), dormer windows (often open where they meet the main roof) and loose shingles or siding.  I didn't bother with a chimney on the Bat Shack, but it's common for bats to enter where a chimney passes through the roof of the house.

Here's how the construction of the Bat Shack went... 

Corner posts attached to post saddles set in concrete (approx 8' tall above the ground).

Two 4' X 8' sides and two 4' X 4' ends attached to a level 'skirt' to hold the stud walls in place.

Rafters & ridge pole installed...

Roof and sides/ends clad with plywood.  A small dormer was installed on both sides of the main roof.  Dormers are commonly used as entrances into human houses.
Shingles on and siding underway.  Black roof and black house-wrap (tar paper, here) should help with heat absorption and retention.  A maternity colony needs lots of heat, something that a small building might not be able to maintain. The red & white face on the dormer is just a red board with a white vent in it.

I had just enough siding left over from a renovation project to make the bat shack look pretty up-scale.

Shy on siding, the 'upstairs' was finished with board & batten (easy to cling to) and a false-door was added to the mix. Vents were added to the peaks at both ends of the house. 

How Bats Get In: 

Bat-sized gaps were left in the soffit at each corner of the house.  A small ladder was added at each doorway.
Two small entrances were made in the facia along the long sides (only one shown). There are built-in gaps underneath the roof of the dormer on both sides too.


The inside is mostly open...bats often do warm-up laps in the attic at dusk just before they exit the building. It's lined with rough-cut pine (same as the board & batten) with narrow gaps between the boards so that bats can tuck in out of sight.  The bottom is open in this picture...

but, you can see it here.  Two plywood boards hinge downwards from the sides.  I envision piles of bat guano underneath the shack some day.  I've put down patio stones to keep down any vegetation...and to make guano- scooping easier ;)

The Finished Bat Shack

A final note:  Yesterday I heard the hiss of a bat as I closed the big barn doors. I was able to pry it out from its position behind the latch and introduce it to (hopefully) its new home just a few flaps away from where it was roosting.

First Tenant of the Bat Shack?  A male Big Brown Bat


  1. Hi Matt! Former Barclay lab member here! (I met you in Delta on your way home after finishing your MSc). I'm working with the Alberta Community Bat Program - we are looking to install a bat condo in south Calgary. Just wondering how your bat shack did this year? Did you get lots of bats? Love to chat with you about bats in buildings...

  2. Yes, how did it work out for you? I want to build a bat barn on my farm and am having trouble finding designs. Have you harvested any guano? It seems to me that if you really want to help bats you should interest the farmer in providing barns because they have the incentive of fertilizer.

  3. A very cool bat shack! i love it! we dont have many bats where i live and the only one i have encountered myself is the one that bit my brother and then died! i am very curious about their nature though? do they only have blood as their food source?

  4. Great post.