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Florida Bat Maternity Season Begins; Touching Roosts Illegal


It’s illegal for Floridians to remove any bats roosting in their homes beginning April 15. Bats start having their pups this month, and the state says you cannot touch those roosts for the next four months. This practice is particularly important in the Southwest Florida region.Removing a mother bat this time of year would likely mean her babies would starve to death in the roost. Amy Clifton is a wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She said she especially does not want people touching roosts in Southwest Florida.

"You're in the territory of the Florida bonneted bat, which is a federally endangered species," said Clifton. "So that's what's particularly important in the Fort Myers area to follow those guidelines because there could be a fairly endangered bat inside some of these structures."

She said neighbors help enforce this policy because they tend to watch each other for signs of illegal activity. But she said people usually comply with their recommendations. Florida’s bat maternity season runs until August 14th.

Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of Morning Edition at WUSF Public Media, and former reporter and host of All Things Considered for WGCU News.
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