Bats have had a bad reputation as blood-sucking flying rodents for years, but some facts about these nocturnal creatures may surprise you.
For example, not all bats are bloodsucking creatures—only three among the 1,200 species that exist actually consume blood. Bats, which are the only true flying mammal, rise from the darkness each night to feed on thousands of insects. Their feces also serves as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, and fruit- and nectar-eating bats help to spread seeds and pollens.
Helping to Conserve Bats
While providing roosting and feeding areas are two essential practices of bat conservation, there are other ways you can help to conserve these vulnerable creatures.
- Do not disturb bats living in uninhibited buildings, bridges, caves or mines.
- Add an artificial bat house to your backyard or neighborhood.
- Be aware that like a bird bath, having an available source of water in your yard can attract bats.
- Reduce the use of insecticides.
- Increase public awareness about bats—from educating others on why bats are beneficial to providing facts to clear up the false tales associated with bats.
Although bat populations are decreasing throughout Florida, you can help protect them and preserve their habitats. To learn more about the ecological benefits of bats, ways to exclude bat colonies from a building, and more, contact your local Extension office.
Adapted and excerpted from:
H. K. Ober and F. J. Mazzotti, “Conservation of Bats in Florida” (WEC247), UF/IFAS Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department (rev. 06/2014).