Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I got a report the other day of some bats flying around campus. "This is great!" I thought to myself. I do not think it was the response this particular person was hoping for. Bats are another animal that gets a bad reputation. They only fly at night, they are secretive and live in caves, and they are often associated with vampires and creatures with fangs. Yet bats are very important, and we should do everything we can to encourage there presence. Why you might ask? BUGS!
Endangered Indiana Bat Myotis sodalis
Some bats in Missouri have been known to eat over five hundred mosquito's an hour! Mosquito's have become a dangerous insect throughout the world, and without bats they would surely become worse. Bats typically catch all there insects in mid-flight, which is why they seem to change direction constantly, and though it looks like they are flying about as if they had one too many, they are actually very talented acrobats. They even drink from lakes while in flight! Expertise at catching insects in mid flight is due to their echo-location ability, similar to sonar. A high pitch sound is sent out and bounced back to their large ears to locate insects in mid-air, and avoid obstacles.
There are many species of bats endangered due to habitat destruction and habitat contamination. Leave bats alone and avoid entering caves as they are very delicate ecosystems. Toxic wastes and littering is also harmful to all wildlife as it often poisons their food source, and then it is passed on to bats. If you want to learn more about Missouri's bats check out this link.
So if you are out on campus and you see bats flying over head, say "thanks for eating those pesky mosquito's!" as you look up in the sky. Though I must warn you, passersby will often think you are one foot in the nut-house, I speak from experience!
Posted by Dan Porter at 8:31 AM