Friday, April 17, 2015

Go Batty!

Just in case you haven't heard by now, it's Bat Appreciation Day!.  Mom likes bats.  She even has bat houses on our property.  I'm not so sure about them.  They seem kind of creepy to me.  But Mom says they do lots of good things for us.

They eat bugs - especially mosquitoes.  A bat can eat 600 mosquitoes in an hour.  That's a lot of bugs!  I don't like mosquitoes so I agree with Mom.  That is a good thing!

Bats make chocolate!  Okay, not really.  But they do pollinate plants.  Over 500 species of plants rely on bats for pollination.  And one of those plants is the cocoa plant.  So in a way, bats do make chocolate.  So thank you, bats.  Mom gets cranky if she doesn't have her chocolate regularly!

Bat poop makes good fertilizer.  Bat poop is actually called guano.  And it is frequently used for fertilizer because it works fast and doesn't smell bad.  It helps keep plant healthy an d green.

Bat saliva can help stroke victims.   A rare protein in the saliva of vampire bats appears promising in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke — the kind of stroke caused by a blood clot that blocks blood supply to the brain.  I'm not sure if I would want a vampire bat to bite me!  Isn't that how you wind up with a stake through your heart?

Lessons learned from bats’ echolocation have produced navigational aids for the blind.

Bats give us a reason to party!  There are Bat Festivals all over the country.  The Austin BatFest, the  Wisconsin Bat Festival, the Great Lakes Bat Festival, the Florida Bat Festival, and the Midwest Bat Festival are just a few of the events you can attend to celebrate the bat.

There are lots of bad stories about bats that make people think they are scary.  But most of them aren't true.  Bats will not try to get in your hair.  They aren't dirty.  They won't attack you and suck your blood - even if they are vampire bats.  They don't spread rabies any more than any other animal.  Bats are gentle and shy and very smart. 

Bat populations are declining all over the world.  A disease called White Nose Syndrome is affecting large numbers of them.  Half the bats in the United States are listed as rare, threatened or endangered. Won't you help?  There are bat sanctuaries and rescue programs worldwide that could use your time, money - or both!

Now that I know how cool bats really are, I am going to celebrate Bat Appreciation Day!

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