Spring is officially here, which means warmer days are upon us. It also means it's almost bat maternity season.
For the next four months, bats and their pups are highly protected.
In Florida, it's illegal to remove or disturb bats from April 16 through Aug. 14. If they make it into your home, you most likely will have to deal with them.
Bat specialists believe there are ways to prevent having uninvited house guests.
"Bats in a bat house aren't in your house, and that's key," said Laura Finn, of Fly By Night Inc., a Volusia County-based bat rescue.
Finn, who has been working as a bat specialist for years, said bat houses in your neighborhood are a great step toward bat prevention in your home. Without bat houses, the animals grow accustomed to finding news places to live — such as in attics or chimneys.
"For a homeowner, if you don't do things right and you end up having bats in your walls or in your home, you are going to have an expensive cleanup," Finn said.
It's illegal to move bats during the four-month window because, according to wildlife officials, it's the season when the at-risk animals give birth to pups.
If bats get trapped inside your home, they could die. Also, their guano (bat excrement) can cause health problems.
Finn said cleanups after someone has trapped bats in their home can cost thousands of dollars.
Bats could have rabies, and so it's important that you don't handle the bats. Finn said call in an wildlife expert.
"Bats do a lot of really great things," Finn said. "They eat a lot of insects."