When I mention bats, I get mixed reactions. Some people are very frightened of these creatures, and others are curious. For some, the mention of bats brings to mind Dracula and rabies.
First, let’s clear that up. Vampire bats do not live in Alabama (or in the United States at all for that matter), and bats are just a few percent above cows in the number of rabies cases found in our state since 1948 when recordkeeping began.
The truth is, bats are incredible creatures and one of the most beneficial animals around! They are gentle creatures; they won’t get in your hair or attack you. All they want to do is fly in the night sky
Did you know bats help control pests such as mosquitoes and pests that damage crops? A small colony of 150 bats can make a meal of up to 33 million crop pests over a single summer! They are a very earth-friendly alternative to pesticides! One little brown bat can feast on up to 1,200 insects in one summer night — 8,400 in one week and 36,000 in one month! That makes me want to put up a “Bats Welcome” sign in my yard!
Bats hunt at dusk when their favorite foods are flying about and predators have called it a day. So how do they catch those fast-moving insects and keep from flying into trees and telephone poles in such low light? They use an amazing navigational skill called echolocation.
Bats send out sound waves so high pitched they are outside a range that humans can hear. When those sound waves bounce off of something and return to the bat, the design of the bat’s ears help them determine the location, size, and the direction of its prey or other objects
Just like any other wild animal, they are best left alone. If you find an injured bat, call Animal Control and do not handle it.
There is so much to know about bats and we have just the place to learn more! Vicky Beckham-Smith, known as “the Bat Lady”, will bring her expertise to share at our Earth Day & Outdoor Expo on April 26th at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens. Presentations and all KALB-sponsored activities are free of charge.
For more information, call or email KALB. We’re always happy to hear from you!
By: Lynne Hart