JoCo Parks builds new condo for bats

MERLIN, Ore. — One of Josephine County’s most popular parks is getting a new addition to help some frequent visitors. The county parks department has even built a new home for its special guests.

Underneath a shelter at Indian Mary Park in Merlin is where a colony of bats calls home.

“The bats have been in it for years,” said Josephine County Park Ranger Steve Harvey, “and they’ve basically started to destroy with just their natural activity in the way they live.”

With timber stating to rot and the roof starting to rust, Josephine County Parks figured out a plan to relocate them.

“We looked into it and the bat house sounded like a great idea,” Harvey said. “Well, with the amount of bats we have, it turned into a bat condo.”

Harvey said although bats have a bad reputation, they have some pretty neat benefits.

“One bat can eat a thousand or so mosquitoes in hours, I mean just hours, Harvey said. “So if they’re out for the night, they can do a lot of cleanup for us.”

They hope the bats new home will also help educate park visitors.

“Hands on, they can see as the bats come out,” said Bugs Northwest President David Mays. “Most people don’t even know or even see how the bats fly, so this’ll be a first hands-on thing they can see them fly right out of there.”

“Hopefully it’s a win-win situation,” Harvey said, “because we’re gonna keep the bats around for their good work they do with the insects and then save our structure at the same time.”

The company that build the condo, Bugs Northwest, said they’re more than happy to help build more bat condos, but it’ll cost you around $10,000.

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