Go Batty for Bats this Halloween!
Halloween is here and things are getting extra spooky. Whether you’re out trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, or just enjoying the fall weather, take a minute to celebrate some of Halloween’s most iconic creatures: Bats!
While bats may seem scary, like spiders they are an important part of our ecosystems. Not only do they help control insect populations, reducing the need for pesticides, they are also major pollinators.
It just so happens that Halloween marks the last day of International Bat Week. So in honor of our winged friends, here are some fun facts about bats.
There are eighteen species of bats in Utah, and over 1,300 species world wide. Bugs make up the primary diet of most bats. And a single bat can eat thousands of insects each night! For smaller bats, that can mean eating close to their body weight in insects!
By controlling insect populations, bats help reduce the need for toxic pesticides. As a result, bats also help farmers save money by serving as natural defenses against insect damage to crops. Moreover, by diminishing our dependence on pesticides, bats also help protect our food and health.
Pollinating by Night
While most bats are insectivores, many species consume nectar and fruit – and are important pollinators! Indeed, bats are responsible for pollinating over 300 species of fruit including bananas and mangoes. They also help pollinate the plants that are used to make different kinds of medicine.
Keeping Bats and Humans Safe
One common misconception about bats is they are blood-suckers. Although the vampire bat does consume the blood of other animals, bats don’t attack humans. Bats can carry rabies and other diseases, so it is important to remember that handling bats isn’t safe for you or the bat.
Besides habitat destruction, one of the biggest threats to bats is White-Nose Syndrome, a fungus that is causing mass deaths of hibernating bats. You can lower their chances of exposure by avoiding caves where there may be hibernating bat colonies.
Bats are wonderful animals who play an important role as pollinators and insectivores. By giving bats space and protecting their habitats, we can keep humans and bats safe!
Or perhaps you have your costume dilemma solved for Halloween? . . .
Whatever it is– let’s show the bats in our environment some love!