Bats are very misunderstood creatures of the night. Most people want nothing to do with them and avoid them at all costs. Here at the homestead, we welcome them. We place bat houses on as many trees and structures as we can to encourage them to stay.
Why We Love Bats: (And You Should Too!)
There are many false beliefs surrounding the bat. Some people feel that they carry rabies. The truth is that a bat will contract rabies only by bitten by a rabid animal or by exchanging saliva with one. This fact is true for any animal. Humans contracting rabies from bats is not likely and actually rare. You have a better chance of being stung by a bee or struck by lightning than to be bitten by a rabid bat.
Another false belief is that they can get tangled in your hair. Truth be told, a bat will avoid flying that close to a human at all costs. If you are that worried, wear a hat at night.
The last misconception is that the vampire bat bites people. Although any animal will bite as a method of protection, a vampire bat will rarely bite a human. They prefer easy targets such as animals. There are very few cases of humans being bit by a bat at all.
Why I love Bats
Bats are beneficial to both humans and the environment in many ways. Both people and our environment depend on these creatures in more ways than you can imagine.
How They Benefit the Environment
Bats eat up to 1200 mosquitoes in 1 hour! They love feeding on the crop-destroying insects that battle our local farms. One study states that bats save us between 3.7 and 54 billion dollars per year in pest control. That results in a decrease in pesticides and a win for our environment.
These crops include:
Pollination is important for crops to grow, and again, these night-flying mammals assist in that need.
Over one meter of the rain forest floor on average contains 12 to 80 dispersed seeds from bat droppings.
- Jamaican peppers
How Bats Benefit People
While the bat is busy pollinating crops and eating nuisance bugs, it is also dropping the richest fertilizer in the world, guano. Guano is comprised of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate. These three ingredients are the key nutrients to make plants grow. Read about the benefits of guano fertilizer here.
Other ways bats benefit people include the studies that scientists perform on bats. Studies about echolocation in bats have resulted in better navigational aides being produced for the blind.
Bat saliva from a vampire bat contains a compound called Draculin which is now being used to help stroke patients to prevent clots from forming. Studies using bats have initiated better birth control and artificial insemination techniques.
We love bats and we welcome them! We provide housing for them as much as we can. Read How to Create a Bat House the Right Way and place a bat house for those useful creatures today! Now that you are more aware of how helpful they can be, why not build a bat house or two on your homestead and welcome them!
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