I read Dracula when I was 8 or 9 (yes, I was one of those kids), which didn’t exactly help get rid of my fear of the bats who lived in our attic and occasionally needed to be guided out a window. As it turns out, the bats created by horror writers and children’s imaginations aren’t nearly as interesting as real bats are:
- Newborn bats cling to their mothers while they fly, and the young bats of some species “babble” like human infants.
- Bats can eat their own body weight in mosquitoes every night! If you live in the South, this fact alone should be enough to make bats your favorite animal.
- Bats have been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and they share a shrew-like ancestor with humans and other primates. However, humans are responsible for the habitat destruction that is causing the bat population to decrease dramatically.
- Many bats are pollinators or help spread plant seeds, making them essential to healthy ecosystems and growing certain crops. You can thank bats the next time you eat a banana, mango, or guava.
- Bats use incredibly precise echolocation to figure out how far away an insect is, the size of the insect, and the direction the insect is heading.
To learn more about bats, help control insects, and provide a home for these fascinating animals, consider putting up a bat house. You can prevent bats from finding their way into your house by sealing up holes near the roof after any existing colony has left for winter hibernation.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan