OKLAHOMA CITY - State biologists said recent bat sightings downtown, during the day, shouldn't be of too much concern as many bats are migrating or bulking up for hibernation.
"The bat was actually down here, right on the sidewalk, it looked like it might be dead, I wasn’t sure if it was dead or asleep," said Cody Lusnia of the bat he spotted on a walk with his dog, Rip, Sunday morning.
Lusnia said it's not uncommon for Rip to sniff out critters while on their walks downtown, and Sunday's bat sighting was the second in as many days.
"I’ve seen enough vampire movies to be a little wary of bats," said Lusnia, jokingly, "and I ducked, it flew past us, and it was able to land and I was able to snap a picture really quick."
Lusnia, who lives downtown, posted the picture of the bat flying low above the sidewalk to Twitter. Nearby real estate group Verbode replied, saying it too has seen a number of bats in recent days.
"It’s very weird. And seeing them on the ground. I’m used to seeing them in the movies or on TV," Lusnia said.
There are a number of bats that call Oklahoma home. But, bat biologists said spotting the normally nocturnal flying mammal during the day is nothing to go batty about, especially this time of year.
"Typically, bats are not active and flying around during the daytime. But, when migration is going on, their behavior is a little different because they’re feeding more and fattening up," said Mark Howery, a biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Simply a bat flying around in the daytime doesn’t mean its acting strange or abnormally. Bats are going to be foraging wherever there are insects.”
Howery said the lights of downtown attract bugs, which make for an easy treat. Add in the number of buildings that mimic cliffs and towers, downtown easily become a prime habitat for bats just passing through or looking to put down some roots.
"The most common bats we’ll see in the Oklahoma City area this time of year are Eastern Red bats and Hoary bats. And, both of those tend to migrate through here," he said. "And, then also Silver-haired bats – they migrate through and also hibernate here."
Daytime construction downtown can also disturb bats from their roosts.
While bats can carry rabies, seeing them during the day isn't always a definitive diagnosis, Howery said. However, if bats are found inside your home - dead or alive - they must be tested for rabies.