Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bat Girl

I took that video last night, when I was excited to see that our bats are back, baby!

I don't know if you can hear my comments in the background, but we've named our bats Boris and Natasha, and their baby is Batty. I suspect that Batty is all grown up now, but I still think of them as the Bat Family. I honestly have no idea how many bats we have, but I hope our numbers are increasing. We've put up a couple of bat boxes, and we also have no idea of whether or not the Bat Family is living in them (the boxes are high up on 12-foot poles), but we can only hope.



Bats get a bad rap, because people find them so creepy. I suppose they are, a little bit, but mostly I just find them fascinating.

I worked with a guy, Mario, in Indianapolis, who was doing his Master's research project on bats. He went to caves and did a lot of work on the study of these little critters, and he had nothing but respect and love for our poor, maligned little mammal friends.

I've always found them interesting simply because they are a little creepy. Their little faces and ears and fangs are just cute to me, in a weird way. I can't really explain it, but it's almost that because some of them are so ugly...they're cute.

But beyond their strange cuteness, I love them because they eat a TON of bugs, and considering how many mosquitoes we have around here in the summer, I say, "Go Bats!"


Consider a few Bat Facts, from Wikipedia:

*There are about 1,100 species of bats worldwide, accounting for about 20 percent of all mammal species. About 70 percent of bats eat insects. Most of the rest eat fruit, with a few species being carnivorous, usually taking blood meals. Bats are present throughout most of the world, including Alaska.

*Bats are important in ecology by pollinating some flowers and dispersing seeds. Many tropical plants are totally dependent on bats.

*By emitting high-pitched sounds and listening to the echoes, also known as sonar, bats locate prey and other nearby objects. This echolocation is an ability they share with dolphins and whales.

*Vision is used as an aid in navigation especially at long distances, beyond the range of echolocation. It has even been discovered that some species are able to detect ultraviolet light. Their senses of smell and hearing are excellent.

*A baby bat is referred to as a pup.

*A single bat can live over 20 years, but the bat population growth is limited by the slow birth rate.

*Many bats migrate, while others pass into a lowered state of awareness in cold weather but rouse themselves and feed when warm spells permit insect activity. Others retreat to caves for winter and hibernate for six months.

*Bats rarely fly in rain because it interferes with their echolocation, and they are unable to locate their food.

*Only 0.5% of bats carry rabies, but of the very few cases of rabies reported in the U.S. every year, most are caused by bat bites.

*Bats are a tourist attraction. A bridge in Austin, Texas is the summer home to North America's largest urban bat colony, an estimated 1,500,000 Mexican free-tailed bats, which eat an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects each night.

*In Western culture, the bat is often a symbol of the night and its foreboding nature. The bat is the main animal associated with fictional characters of the night, both villains like Dracula and heroes like Batman.

I urge you to consider the benefit and strange beauty of our fine non-feathered bat friends. Don't be afraid of the bat...embrace the the bat. Our Bat Family at Nutwood is a fine addition to our family of critters, and I couldn't be happier to have them back.



dslapczynski said...

Yeah. Still creepy. lol


tsalagiman1 said...

Hi Beth,
Happy Belated Retirement!  Very informative post about bats.  I've been fascinated with them myself since I was a child.


sanguinelioness said...

I've always thought bats were kind of cool. When I was on a family vacation in France , many years ago, I remember seeing bats for sale as pets! I thought that was strange, but I guess someone took them home and loved them!

eml625 said...

Hope I'm not shocking you with my first comment !!!
Bats are kind of cool, in a wierd way. I had no idea about some of those facts.
I think it's great that you set up some boxes for them. Looking forward to more sightings of the Bat family.
Be well,
Ellen (NY State of mind)

queeniemart said...

two seperate times in my lifetime, one being about a year ago, i had a bat fly into my living room and stay. I am sure they are lovely creatures but just tell a 3 yr old that that bat in the curtains will NOT hurt him. RIGHT.  Needless to say i had to stand in the rain while a friend drove across town and used a blanket to get that bat out. Then  last year Rick and i are in the living room watching TV and a bat flew by our heads and almost slammed into  Rick's face. Lord have mercy. The dogs and i went behind the coach and stayed there while Rick spent an hour trying to capture the bat. Again, a shoe box and blanket were used to safely put Mr. Bat outside.

madcobug said...

That was a cute video and yes I could hear all those frogs in the background. I think the face of the first one looks like a fox. I have seen one closeup before and that face looked almost human. They are good to catch those mosquitoes. Helen

buckoclown said...

Very Cloverfield-esque, almost made me nauseous.  I am glad to have the flying rats back :o)

helmswondermom said...

I love bats!  We tried attracting them to our yard with a bat box, but so far we haven't seen any signs that any have moved in.  We do see them flying by once in a while, though.  Great video!