What’s To Fear About Bats?

Bats are kind of the hallmark of Halloween. They tend to creep many people out because they fly around at night when humans can’t see well. And let’s face it, many of them look kind of weird and scary, but bats are very important to both the environment and to people.

The types of bats we have in the northern U.S. are insect eaters. A single bat can eat its weight in insects each night. And by eating all those insects, they keep the insects from eating farmer’s crops. This saves U.S. farmers billions of dollars a year. In other areas of the country other bats pollinate plants like cacti and in other parts of the world fruit bats pollinate trees and spread fruit seeds. There are 1,300 species of bats worldwide and only 3 out of those 1,300 feed on blood. Yes, vampire bats do exist, but they don’t turn into vampires that stalk the night and usually don’t feed on people. Most of the time they are content to feed on animals, inflicting only small wounds to drink around 1 ounce of blood per night (or 2 tablespoons). And unless you are in certain Central or South American countries, you will never run across one.

There are lots of neat and positive things about bats, but bats are also in trouble. Disease and habitat loss are causing their numbers to go down globally. In the United States, millions of bats have died due to the introduction of white-nose syndrome. Yet there are things we can do to help; simple things that you can even do in your own backyard.

Watch this short video to learn more about this flying mammal (by the way, it’s the only mammal that truly can fly). They’re not nearly as scary as they seem.

bat video

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