Bats are Important
Bats are important, all 1,300 species of them! They play very important roles in our ecosystem. Many bats get a bad reputation of being a "Vampire" when in reality only 3 species drink blood, and they do not attack to get it. Most bats consume insects, including ones that are very dangerous to agriculture. Damage to agriculture by corn earworm moths in 2006 cost an estimated $1 billion! Other bats pollinate plants that help our crops grow, which in return helps us and other animal populations. Bats have been considered "keystone species" because of how essential they are to tropical and desert ecosystems. They help pollinate many plants and trees including Africa's "Tree of Life", which is critical to many animals survival. They can even return life by helping disperse seeds after many forests have been cut down.
Bats are Threatened
According to the Union for the Conservation of Nature, 26 species are critically endangered, 51 are endangered, and 954 are vulnerable. Female bats produce at a much slower rate than most animals, with on average one pup per year, though some species can produce multiple a year. This could have an affect on the continuation of each species but the biggest threat to their survival is the loss of their homes. Many bats homes are forests, this is where they seek food and shelter, and where they are being driven out of their homes from deforestation or guano mining (guano is bat droppings and is a very valuable fertilizer). Most places around the world still kill bats because of myths of them being vampires.
Bats are Everywhere
Except for the North and South poles, bats are everywhere and they impact us all! We can help the survival of bats by welcoming them to our property. Bat houses are becoming more and more popular seeing as how they can house anywhere from one to a couple hundred depending on the size, and each bag held reduce pests. 1 bat can consume up to 1,000 insects in a night. With a nice family of bats living near by hot summer nights may finally be free of mosquitos! Getting a bat house is not as simple as just buying and installing. There are many tips on where and how to place your house as well as upkeep on the winger months. Batcon.org has many resources to help you decide on if this is the right option for you or not.
So the next time you come across one of these beautiful creatures, don't be afraid, but instead stop and gaze at all their glory!
Written by Chelsea Dugger