Wonderfully Batty

Yesterday, April 17th, was Bat Appreciation Day.  Bats are one of natures most unappreciated and misunderstood animals in creation.  Similar to the humble spider, bats are feared for no good reason.

Pollinator

Some of human kinds favorite foods like bananas, avocados, peaches, and cashews, rely on bats for pollination.  Without bats these crops would fail along with countless other plant species. Nectar eating bats spread pollen from plant to plant as they feed.  Without this pollination the plants would not produce fruit.  These types of bats live in diverse climates, from rainforests to deserts, and are essential to the survival of these and many other diverse ecosystems.

Pest Control

If you hate mosquitoes you owe a huge thank you to the insect eating bats for keeping their populations down.  Without bats you would be covered in bites on a regular basis.  Not to mention the help they provide in keeping mosquito transmitted diseases at bay.  These little guys can eat literally tons of bugs every night. Insectivorous bats also eat other nocturnal pests like the corn earworm moth.  These moths would destroy millions of dollars in vital crops, such as cotton, if it were not for the bats.  This not only saves money on crop production, but it also means that the farmers can use far less pesticide. Meaning they benefit the farmers and the environment.  Just imagine a world where crops are destroyed by insects and/or covered in billions of dollars worth of additional pesticides, while your town is covered in a literal ton of mosquitos. Not a world in which I want to live.

Seed Dispenser

Fruit eating bats are greatly beneficial in helping to reverse deforestation in rainforests and other areas ravaged by clearcutting.  Due to the bats willingness to fly over wide open spaces and cover long distances at night they are able to spend seeds farther and wider than birds, primates, and other fruit eating animals.  Seeds dropped from bats can account for the vast majority of new growth in a once clearcut area. This new growth provides protection for more delicate plants to grow as well as homes for other animals. Once again the bats prove to be highly beneficial to the environment.

Just in case you needed further convincing here are some photos of rescued baby bats wrapped up like burritos.

So the next time you see bats flying overhead don’t fear them, thank them.  If you want to do more to help these wonderful little eco warriors you can install a bat box at your home or work with one of the many conservation groups such as Bat Conservation Trust, Bat Conservation International or the Organization for Bat Conservation. #savethebats

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