Bats: Not Just for Scaring Kids Anymore

Megan Van Schaick
20

bat houseIf you're anything like most people, you probably feel like bats are just fiiiiine ... as long as they stay far away from you.

Besides, they have rabies, right? They swoop at your head, trying to bite you! They are ruthless attackers of humans. Oh! And then there’re the ones that suck your blood, the vampire bats. Rumor has it they sucked a whole herd of cattle dry once.

What, you didn’t hear that story?

Hm. Probably because it’s not true. None of it is. In fact, bats are some of the most beneficial creatures to have around.

Which is why you should buy them a house.

I know what you are thinking. Won’t a bat house just attract more of these ugly things to my yard?

Well, yes. But that is a good thing. A very good thing!

One bat eats up to 1,000 mosquitoes, moths, and flies every hour. Every hour!

And by the way, they don’t carry rabies. Or purposefully dive-bomb our heads. If a bat flies towards you, it’s most likely coming after an insect -- as advanced as their sonar systems are, do you really think they would fly at something big enough to kill them?

Putting a bat house in your yard provides shelter for them during the day -- which means they're no longer sheltering in your house. Bats are so docile and peaceful that hundreds will share the same house, even if they're different species -- how many of us could do that?

They also like to stick close to home when they go out at night to hunt, so you and your neighbors directly reap the benefits of the house you put up. Those bats will take down all kinds of bugs, but most importantly, the mosquitoes that have exploded in numbers -- and carry the West Nile virus.

Still not convinced? Try this one: without bats, there would be no agave plants. That means no tequila. No. Tequila. None.

No rabies, terrifically talented crop pollinators, and killing thousands of insects in just hours? Sounds pretty bad ass to me. Besides, harsh mosquito-killing chemicals are soooooo last year.

 

Image via Dano/Flickr


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