About a dozen small bats either fell or tried to fly from four trees in Lemon Park in the middle of a sunny afternoon.
Walkers in Lemon Park last week had an unusual interruption during their hike around the walking path. Not far from the park entrance on the north side of the exit road and just east of the information kiosk, several bats were found either falling or trying to fly out of four trees on either side of the walking path. Several walkers witnessed the event and all said they had never seen anything like it.
The small bats are either "evening bats" or "big brown bats," said Samantha Pounds, ecologist for Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism ecological services department, who reviewed photos of the bats but was unable to make a positive identification.
This is unusual behavior and Pounds said she had never heard of this happening before.
There were from a half dozen to maybe 10 bats involved in the incident. The bats would either fall out of the trees or they may have been trying to fly. Either way, this was an unusual thing to see around 3 p.m. in the afternoon on a sunny day in Lemon Park.
Bats are nocturnal and usually only come out at night. For bats to be active in the daytime is very unusual. While Pounds speculates the bats were learning to fly, she doesn't think that's likely.
The bats appeared to be juveniles and were just a couple of inches long. They would land on the ground then walk to the tree and start walking up the tree. They would get about 15 feet off the ground and disappear in the branches and leaves then fall to earth again. Sometimes the bats would cross the sidewalk to a different tree or they would go to the tree next to the one they had just left.
Pounds said it was not uncommon for bats to nest in trees. Several species of Kansas do roost in trees and have their young there.
Pound said no one should touch the bats because they are known to carry rabies.
Because this is an unusual, Pounds will continue to research the event to find out if it has happened before and what exactly the bats were doing.