Halloween is creeping closer and it got my wheels turning. Are bats as awful as they are made out to be?
Sharp toothed, huge Chihuahua like fleshy ears, creepy looking things that only come out at night for a reason –we have been conditioned to think they are evil, nasty creatures.
Bats are sorely misunderstood. And no, I don’t have a pet bat.
But my dad has a bat nest.
Bats are incredible and the bat facts below will leave you with a few conversation tricks up your sleeve for your next haunted gathering of family and friends.
Bats make up ¼ of all mammals. About 1,300 species - mind boggling that one species can account for 25%!
The only mammal that flies also nurses her baby by wrapping it with her wing and holding her up to her bat tanks. The original breast feeding blanket. And she will “right” herself to give birth (usually one pup a year) using gravity to her advantage.
In China, bats are a symbol of good luck and happiness.
Do you love mangos, bananas, guava, cocoa or agave?
You wouldn’t be able to enjoy them without the bats that pollinate the fruit. Pollen sticks to their long nose and cute furry faces they go from flower to flower eating nectar and pollinating those flowers that will turn into fruit we love to eat.
Bats play a critical role in the ecosystem as they disperse plant seeds far away from the mother plant, ensuring a better chance for that a new plant will germinate, thrive and produce fruit -the ultimate goal for a seed.
Rather than plugging in a bug zapper, encourage bats to roost near your house. Bats can consume their body weight in insects each night. Literally snarfing up over 1,000 insects a night. Blood sucking mosquitos are no match for bats with an appetite.
The Bracken Cave near San Antonio, Texas, is known as summer home to over 15 million Mexican free tailed bats. 5 million bats are born and raised in this cave each year.
Bracken Cave is the largest bat colony in the world.
They eat an estimated 200 tons of insects each night. And, what goes in must come out. Rather than hanging upside down, will also “right” themselves to excrete waste.
The waste is called guano and is an excellent natural garden fertilizer. The nitrogen and phosphorous rich guano was also in high demand during the Civil War as the guano was used in making gun powder.
Emitting a high pitched sound from their mouth and nose, bats use echolocation for hunting and navigation. Bats inspired the sonar systems we use today.
Depending on the species, bats can live up to 30 years.
The smallest bat is native to Thailand and weighs less than a penny. The largest bat in the world is the flying fox and has a wingspan up to 6 feet.
The saliva from a vampire bat contains an anticoagulant called draculin, aptly named after Dracula. Vampire bats are the only species that live solely off blood and will regurgitate it up for it’s batmates who are hungry. They also don't suck blood, they lick it up just to get facts straight.
Caves are excellent homes because their temperate stays constant and its difficult for predators to attack when hidden in crevices of a cave ceiling. They use their foil like wings to trap air around their body keeping themselves nice and cozy warm.
These nifty facts lead me to believe that these mosquito eating, cocoa pollinating, guano fertilizer producing creatures probably need a little more love from their fellow mammals.
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