Bats are very misunderstood animals. Usually when someone is asked to name creepy creatures, bats are somewhere near the top of their list. That creepy reputation makes many people ignore or not realize the importance that bats play in the world. Though if you don’t care about the world, then maybe you should become aware of how bats benefit you!
3 Bat Traits That Are Helpful to Humans
1) Natural insect control
2) Contribute to the spread of pollination
3) The dung (guano) of bats is very rich and a good fertilizer
“Bats are also crucial to many ecosystems around the world. Insect-eating bats are the primary predators of night-flying insects. One little brown bat can eat several thousand insects each night. Nectar-feeding bats help pollinate and fruit-eating bats spread seeds.” (Bat Conservation.org)
Bats are an incredibly important pest control. As bats go about their every-night business of flying and eating they are providing a helpful service for everyone. Farmers (and those of us who eat fruits and vegetables!) can be thankful for their crops; there are less bugs to harm the crops, less need to buy pesticides, and guano is also a great fertilizer. Many of the tropical fruits we eat can possibly owe their existence to a bat as well!
The rest of us can just be glad for the reprieve from getting bit and bothered by insects as we enjoy the summer night air in the Adirondacks. I know I love sitting outside to watch the stars, and I would prefer not to be constantly swatting at bugs. Can you imagine how much worse it would be without bats eating billions of insects per night?
Bats’ eating habits also significantly decrease the chance for insect-driven disease outbreaks that mosquitoes are known to spread—Malaria? West Nile? Do those sound familiar?
Bats are Friends or at Least Allies
So what does all that mean? Well, I hope it convinces you that bats are not the enemies of humans or threats that need to be taken care of. They really just need to be left alone. Though sometimes they need to be protected as well.
With a humorous edge toward bat myths, Martha Allen of the Lake Placid News defends the reputation of our local bats below.
“Still, as we know, bats are our friend. They eat huge meals of mosquitoes on warm evenings and hardly ever live up to their reputation, previously hinted at, of entangling themselves in people’s hair whilst at the same time biting and spreading rabies.
The little brown bats that live in the Adirondacks do not suck blood, either, so it is unfair to class them with the ubiquitous vampires popularized by novelists and filmmakers…” (Lake Placid News).
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