Bats get a bad rap. Considered by many to be nothing but rabies carriers, or scary creatures of the night that will tangle in your hair (pleeeease, that is a myth), the general public is not aware of just how beneficial these animals really are to our ecosystems. As the largest predators of night flying insects, and critical pollinators and seed dispersers bats are a vital component to the natural order of things.
But bats are in deep trouble. Dying at an alarming rate from an insidious disease called White Nosed Syndrome, which has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States and is spreading westward, they are facing one of the most accelerated and dire wildlife crises in the past 100 years. It is time that people understood just how beneficial bats are to us and just how devastating it would be should we lose them.
For more information on bats see below:
Why Bats are Beneficial
See Our Own HOBAS Bat Fact Sheet
White Nosed Syndrome Facts:
Organizations Helping Bats:
Bat Conservation International: Bat
Conservation International is conducting and
supporting science-based conservation efforts
around the world. Working with many partners and
colleagues, these innovative programs combine
research, education and direct conservation to
ensure bats will be helping to maintain healthy
environments and human economies far into the
6 Super Cool Facts About Bats!
- Bats sustain entire ecosystems.
For instance, the lesser long-nosed bat
pollinates the saguaro cacti, in the Sonoran
desert of Mexico and south-west USA, which is
incapable of self-fertilisation. This plant is
key to the whole Sonoran ecosystem.
- Fruit-eating bats help regenerate
fragmented rainforests, distributing
five times more seeds per square metre than
birds and possibly accounting for 95 per cent of
all forest regrowth.
- No bats = no more tequila slammers!
It's bats that pollinate agave plants, from
which this popular drink derives. Bats also
propagate 500 economically important
- Bats are nature's crop defenders,
preying on the pests of cucumbers, corn, coffee
and cotton. Each Texan night, a million-strong
colony of Mexican free-tailed bats consumes the
weight of 25 elephants in corn earworm moths.
- Bats help to combat illness and
disease. Some species of bat eat 600
mosquitoes an hour, serving as a natural control
agent for malaria. And stroke patients are
treated by an anticoagulant named Draculin, that
was developed from vampire bat saliva.
- Bats attract tourists, such
as the straw-coloured bat roost in Kasanka
National Park, Zambia, and Bracken Cave, Texas,
home to an estimated 20 million Mexican
free-tailed bats. source: BBC Discover Wildlife