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Bats are essential to the health of our natural world. Unfortunately, bat populations are declining worldwide. The best way to help bats is to spread the word that BATS are THE GOOD GUYS!
Centuries of myths and misinformation still generate needless fears and threaten bats and their habitats. Losing bats would have devastating consequences for natural ecosystems. Bats make up about 20 percent of all mammal species. There are more than 1,200 species of bats that range from the tiny bumblebee bat (the size of a large bumblebee) to giant flying foxes with six-foot wingspans. Among all bat species, only 3 (all in Latin America) are vampires (eating only the blood of animals), and none of them are dangerous to humans. In fact, scientists have found the enzyme in their saliva to be one of the most potent blood-cot dissolvers known and is used to treat HUMAN stroke victims! There are 47 bat species in the U.S. and 24 of them reside in California!
Bats are the primary predators of night-flying insects, including many of the most damaging agricultural pests and others that BUG most of us humans. Almost one third of the world's bats feed on the fruit or nectar of plants. These bats are vital pollinators of countless plants and essential seed dispersers with a major role in regenerating rainforests. About one percent of bats eat fish, mice, frogs or other small invertebrates. Two reasons why bats are nocturnal is that they have less competition for food at night since most other species of animals are active only during the day (specifically birds), and they have fewer predators (mostly owls).
Even bat droppings (called guano) are valuable to the environment as a rich natural fertilizer. Some biologists consider bats a "keystone" component of ecosystems. Without their pollination and seed-dispersing services, local ecosystems could gradually collapse, having a damaging effect on the on wildlife species at the base of the food chain. The largest known bat population in the world consists of 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats at Bracken Cave, just outside San Antonio, Texas. This isn't just the biggest population but also the largest concentration of mammals in the WORLD! These bats eat approximately 200 tons of insects nightly! Sadly, more than half of American bat species are in decline or already listed as endangered. Knowledge is the key, spread the word and re-educate others - BATS are THE GOOD GUYS!
Bat Conservation International - http://www.batcon.org/index.php/all-about-bats/intro-to-bats.html
BatsLive - http://batslive.pwnet.org/index.php
CA Dept of Fish & Game - http://www.dfg.ca.gov/viewing/bats2.html
National Wildlife Federation - http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Mammals/Bats.aspx
USDA Forest Service - http://www.fs.fed.us/biology/wildlife/bats.html
Year of the Bat - http://www.yearofthebat.org/
For TONS more information, visit our Bats Page - click below!