BIZ KIDS — This P.E.I. teen is helping save bats and making a profit

CBC Kids News • Published 2021-02-15 07:00

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Two bat houses sit side-by-side with arrows pointing  to a 1.3-centimetre gap that bats crawl through to get into the bat house.

Arrows point to a 1.3-centimetre gap that bats crawl through to get into the bat house. (Image credit: Kirk Pennell/CBC)

You’ve probably heard of Batman, but have you heard of the P.E.I. teen trying to save the Island’s endangered little brown bat population?

Dominik Davis, 14, has transformed his concern for bats into a small online business, selling sanctuaries for the small creatures.

They’re called Beddy Bye Bats and they provide a safe place, away from lurking predators like hawks or other large birds.

“Bats are not blind and they will stay away from you. They won't fly into your hair and they're the best thing to have around.”  — Dominik Davis, 14

Dominik said he has had an interest in bats for as long as he can remember.

And he says there are many misconceptions about the small winged mammals.

Dominik constructing a bat house.

Dominik said the houses should be put up 3.6 to six metres in the air. (Image credit: Kirk Pennell/CBC)

“They eat a lot of insects and they're really cool mammals,” Dominik said in an interview with CBC News.

He hopes his interest in bats will help change the minds of people who don’t like them.

“When they are around your area, the amount of bugs will be reduced and for us, we live in the country, so it's a big help,” Dominik said.

The idea for the bat houses started with this Grade 8 science project about the little brown bat. Dominik is standing beside that project in this picture.

The idea for the bat houses started with this Grade 8 science project about the little brown bat. (Image credit: Kirk Pennell/CBC)

Having already known so much about bats, Dominik decided the little brown bat would be the subject of a Grade 8 science project in March 2019.

“When I brought it home, we got it out, and my mom thought it would be a great idea to start building bat houses,” he said.

So Dominik found a pattern online and started building in a small barn next to his family home in Riverton.

From there, his mother posted his first bat houses on social media, and soon Dominik was filling his first 12 orders.

Bat houses sell for $25 or $35 each 

To date, he has sold more than 250 bat houses.

The small bat houses go for $25, while the large size goes for $35, which he markets on social media and then sells them online.

Dominik says a couple of businesses in the area are also now selling the houses for him, which will keep the teenager busy for a while.

He buys his materials at a P.E.I. building materials supplier and builds most of the houses himself, with some help from his family. 

Dominik's first bat house is pictured here on a tree in his backyard.

Dominik has his first bat house, the one he built for the science fair, in his backyard. (Image credit: Kirk Pennell/CBC)

Dominik said he hopes what he's doing will help P.E.I.'s bat population, which has struggled for more than a decade because of a disease called the white-nose syndrome.

“It's quite a tiny little space. Bats like very tiny spaces because they like to keep warmth in, and they like to be squished together,” Dominik said of his product.

With files from Nancy Russell/CBC

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