In a blog article I wrote a few months ago I sang the praises of bees, and why they are so important within the ecosystem, why you should want them in your yard, and what you can do to attract them to your garden for pollination. Did you know that bats are important pollinators too? And THE BEST organic pesticide there is? It’s true! Need some convincing? Here it goes.
For starters, bats are helpful, and not as bad as some make them out to be. They have got an undeserved reputation for being gross. Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly- their wings are actually hands- that have adapted for flight. They are very flexible, and able to move independently, and, as mammals, they actually spend a great deal of time cleaning their fur! Bats have no more incidences of rabies than other mammals, in fact, less than 1% of bats are said to be infected with rabies, and transmission from bats accounts for 1 death per year in the US. (A statistic much less than that of dog bites and lightning strikes. Weary of Vampire bats? Don’t be! Of the 1200+ species of bats in the world, there are only 3 that feed on blood of livestock (by licking, not sucking), and all 3 types live in Latin America. No worries!
The pre-dominant role of bats in the echo-system, is that of insect predators and plant pollinators. In one night, a single bat can eat 3,000-7,000 insects, including mosquitoes. Fruit bats have very good eyesight, while some bats do not…they make up for their poor eyesight by using echolocation. This is a signal sent by the bat that allows it to find small areas, where there may be a lot of insects to feed on.
So you see, bats are not as creepy as you thought, they are actually very beneficial. Please consider adding bats to your landscape!
Information used in this article has been provided by The Bat Conservation Trust and University of Illinois Extension website.