In praise of bats

By Connie Orcutt • Published: October 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

If bats conjure up for you only heart-pounding horror, you may not know all the amazing ways they help humans. In fact, the United Nations has designated this the Year of the Bat to showcase both the benefits bats provide and the perils they face.

Bats save the farming industry millions of dollars each year by pollinating plants, dispersing seeds and eating insects. A little brown bat can eat 600 mosquitoes an hour, while large urban bat colonies gobble up 30,000 pounds of insects in one night.

But bat numbers have plummeted because of habitat destruction, urbanization and pesticide use. The bats’ biggest threat of all may be the fungal disease called white-nose syndrome that has already killed more than 6 million bats in North America.

Hopefully there is still time to help these animals that have done so much to help us.