Facts and General Information About Bats

Facts About Bats

  1. There are more than1400 species of bats in the world as of the 2020 count, which accounts for more than 1/4 of all mammal species.
  2. There are 47 species of bats found in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
  3. Bats are found on every continent except for Antarctica.
  4. Researchers around the world continue to identify new species of bats. The 15 new species reported so far in 2014 come from 11 countries: Panama, Guyana, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Morocco, Cameroon, Kenya, Ethiopia and Australia.
  5. Did you know that a bat is the only mammal that can fly?
  6. Bats are one of the slowest reproducing mammals in existence. Most bat species only give birth to one pup a year.
  7. The most common bat in North America is the Little Brown Myotis Bat, or Myotis lucifugus. This little guy can eat 1,000 mosquitos an hour or three times their body weight.
  8. The Little Brown Bat (Myotis) can live up to 34 years in the wild.
  9. Most bat species use a sonar system called "echolocation" to navigate through the night and to find their food source.
  10. In general, most bats dine on night flying insects.
  11. Out of the 47 different species of bats found in the United States, Canada and Mexico, only 4 of the species do not feed on insects. Bats play a huge part in the pollination of certain plants by feeding on the nectar and fruit. The bats play a big part in the pollination of agave plants and the cacti in the southwest desert areas. They also provide a source of seed dispersal in the desert areas so the ecosystem can continue to survive in the harsh climate.
  12. A major agricultural pest, the cucumber beetle will produce millions of rootworm larvae. A colony of 150 Big Brown Bats can eat enough cucumber beetles to eliminate the reproduction of 33 million rootworm larvae specimens in one summer.
  13. The ecosystem of the desert rely on bats that are nectar feeding to pollinate the giant cacti of the southwest such as the Organ pipe and the Arizona saguaro plant.
  14. There are over 20 Million Mexican Free Tailed Bats that reside in Bracken Cave, located at the outer edge of San Antonio, Texas. They will eat over 200 TONS of insects in a single night.
  15. In parts of the country where we have cold weather conditions the bats will retreat into hibernation in mines, caves, or even an attic area of a home. Some bats will burrow into leaf piles on the ground to hibernate, like the Eastern Red Bat. In some cases, bats will travel thousands of miles to find warmer climate areas.
  16. The old wise tail saying "Blind as a Bat" has no truth in that statement. Quite to the contrary, bats have a very keen eye sight. Have you ever looked at a close up photo of a bat? What big eyes you have.
  17. It has also been relayed that bats will get entangled in a humans hair, another myth.
  18. Bat Guano is collected and processed for fertilizer and sold to farmers and gardeners. It is rich in nitrogen & phosphorous.

Bats Control Insects

  1. Bats live in most parts of the world, they are natural enemies of night flying insects.
  2. Bats save the American Farmer approximately $22.9 billion dollars yearly in chemical pesticide cost, without jeopardizing our delicate ecosystem that plant species and animals need for survival.
  3. Important plants in the wild like the banana, breadfruit, date and cashew, depend on bats for pollination and seed disbursement.
  4. Tequila is a product that is produced in Mexico from the agave plants. The agave plant depends on the bat for pollination to produce seeds for reproduction of the plant.

BATS are in trouble

  1. The bat population of North America is in a downward spiral due to a fungus called White Nose Syndrome. It first appeared in Howes Cave near Albany, New York in the winter season of 2005 / 2006. Research studies indicate that the disease may be caused by humans, by cavers going into the caves. Many mines in the country have been sealed off so humans can no longer enter them. With financial help finally coming from the local and federal governments due to the persuasive efforts from organizations like Bat Conservation International (BCI), we will see the closing of more mines in the future, and much needed research.
  2. We have lost over 5.7 million of our bat population in the past 8 years. Bat Conservation International can use your help to continue the fight against White Nose Syndrome. Support them with a donation.

What can I do to help our BAT population

  1. Install a BCI Certified bat house so the bats have a safe environment to live in.
  2. Educate yourself by doing research on bats. Encourage Conservation Organizations and teachers in schools to do the same. Use a reputable organization to do your research such as Bat Conservational International (BCI), a world wide organization dedicated to the preservations of bats.
  3. Learn the golden rule and teach your children about it also. "Look But Don't Touch". Let the experts take care of a injured bat, or wild animal.

Bats & COVID-19

Other coronaviruses have been found in North American bats in the past, but there is currently no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 is present in any free-living wildlife in the United States, including bats. In general, coronaviruses do not cause illness or death in bats, but we don’t yet know if this new coronavirus would make North American species of bats sick. Bats are an important part of natural ecosystems, and their populations are already declining in the United States. Bat populations could be further threatened by the disease itself or by harm inflicted on bats resulting from a misconception that bats are spreading COVID-19. However, there is no evidence that bats in the United States are a source of the virus that causes COVID-19 for people. Further studies are needed to understand if and how bats could be affected by COVID-19.

Here is a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Last updated April 23, 2020

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Facts about Bats & rabies

  1. In general bats are not an aggressive mammal, only when provoked, and act in self defense. Like most mammals bats can contract rabies, however less than one-half of one percent of bats ever get the disease and those that do, normally bite only in self-defense and pose little threat to people who do not handle them. This is the number one reason to enforce the “Look But Don’t Touch” rule.
  2. Call your local Health Dept if you see a bat on the ground and always use the golden rule " Look But Don't Touch".
  3. Dogs are the #1 cause of over 90% of human exposure to rabies, and of over 99% of human deaths worldwide from rabies.

Statement of Authenticity

The topics above were all compiled by Phil Brodak, after doing research from reputable sources such as Bat Conservation International (BCI), Batcon.Org and others.

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