Bats are Our Nighttime Heroes
But the poor
little bat is far from loathsome. In fact, his goals in life are to cruise
the night skies seeking insects that plague us humans, quite often moths
and mosquitoes, for his dinner. A single bat can eat hundreds of insects
The bat only gets into houses accidentally and would like nothing better at that point than to get back out. And as for hair, he has no attraction to that.
The bat holds the distinction of being the only mammal that can sustain flight. Most bats are better flyers than birds, being able to fly more slowly and with far better maneuverability.
The old saying "blind as a bat" is quite incorrect. No bat is blind, but rather he has well developed sight and smell. Since sight is no help in darkness, bats navigate by echolocation. Echolocation is much like radar, the bat bounces sound off objects to ascertain their direction.
Bats roost during the day in caves, hollow trees, under rocks or in old barns. Some live alone, others in groups. They usually produce only one offspring per year. This may be because bats have such a long life span, some living to twenty years. The geriatric bat record is thirty one years.
The accusation that bats transmit disease, particularly rabies, is almost completely unfounded. This idea likely arises from the tropics where true vampire bats feed off blood from small wounds they inflict in cattle. These bats do bite their victims, and rabies is more prominent in the tropics then it is here, but actual rabies cases in bats have been very rare.
It is the humans that have made bats the victims. Often developers building houses will find a colony of bats, and wipe out the entire group. Insects often carry traces of insecticides that we spray on crops and gardens. When the bat eats the insects, the pesticides collect, the bat's body cannot rid itself of the chemicals. Bats can die if the levels reach too high. Three species of bats are now on the endangered list.
The insect eating bats of this area cause no harm, and decrease the insect population. For those who still hesitate to appreciate the little bats that eat insects and occasionally make a wrong turn and explore our houses, consider the larger megabat of Africa and India. If this bat came into your house, it would probably empty the house of human occupants - not because it would cause any harm, but because it's wing span is five feet.....
Copyright © 2001 Kathy A. Miles and Charles F. Peters II