The bat is one of the world's most iconic creatures. From Commissioner Gordon shining the Bat-Signal above Gotham City to Dracula pulling his cape over his fanged face and transformed into a flying furry, bats are a big part of our popular culture. But when it comes to dealing with the flying mammals face to face, some people get a little squeamish.
Irv Snow is not one of those people.
Not only does he love bats, but he makes them his business. Snow is the one-man show behind Bats In The House, one of only a few businesses nationwide that build bat houses. Snow started building bat houses after moving his family into a new house only to discover a family of bats living in the garage. He kicked them out but felt bad leaving them homeless. So, he said, he researched how to build bat houses, put together a prototype and installed it on the garage. A couple of bats moved right in.
"Then my friends started asking me to build them one," Snow said. Now, he handcrafts a variety of different styles of bat houses in his Concord workshop and ships them off all across the country. Snow produces seven different types of bat houses, ranging from $25-$90. The houses are made from oak or pine, can be finished or unfinished, and can run from single to triple chambered.
"The more chambers you have," Snow said, "the more bats you attract." Up to 30 bats can live in a single chamber, and as many as 100 can fit in a triple.
Bats like to live in dark, warm places like caves, but if you have a hole in your eaves, they'll move into your house too. Placed somewhere that gets a lot of sun, the houses can heat up to 95 degrees - perfect bat temperature. Bat houses provide the environment bats want without making them go to the trouble of worming their way in to your attic.
"I sold 60 my first year out," Snow said. "A lot of times it's a decorative thing, but they're an excellent bug control mechanism." Like a natural bug zapper, a single brown bat can eat thousands of mosquitoes in a single night. They're a green solution for insect-born diseases.
"Most people see bats and they get scared . . . 'Oh no, it's gonna fly in my hair! Ah! Vampire bat!' " Snow said. "There's a lot of mythology around them. But hey, they're part of our ecosystem and they're very important for insect control."
For more information about Bats In The House, visit bathousesinc.com.