Saturday, January 21, 2012

Going to Bat for Bats


Bon Bon Pond is proud to join the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) in their efforts to promote awareness and appreciation for the world’s bat populations.  These organizations have launched a two-year campaign to help protect one of the planet’s most maligned, misunderstood and mistreated mammals.

Thanks in large part to the Dracula story and sensationalized news reporting, bats have received an undeserved reputation as evil, disease carriers.  Recognized as a friend to farmers and outdoor enthusiasts, insectivorous bats consume millions of harmful pests each year.  Fruit and nectar consuming bats are equally as important, thanks to their pollination and seed dispersal services. Together, bats worldwide  play an important part in preserving the planet’s ecosystem.
Did you know . . .

PhotobucketA single Little Brown Bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in a single hour, and is one of the world's longest-lived mammals for its size, with life spans of almost 40 years.

PhotobucketBats are more closely related to humans and other primates than they are to rodents. Several studies indicate that the Old World Fruit Bats and Flying Foxes may actually be descended from early primates such as lemurs.

PhotobucketThere are over 1200 known species of bats, just about 25% of all mammal species. Most of these bats are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

PhotobucketMost bat moms give birth to only a single pup each year, making them very vulnerable to extinction. Bats are the slowest reproducing mammals on earth for their size.

PhotobucketContrary to popular myths, most bats have very good eyesight, have excellent echolocation so they do not become entangled in human hair, and seldom transmit disease to other animals or humans.

PhotobucketThe world's smallest mammal is the Bumblebee Bat of Thailand which weighs about as much as a dime and is critically endangered due to habitat loss.

PhotobucketBats are very clean animals, and groom themselves almost constantly (when not eating or sleeping) to keep their fur soft and clean, like tiny cats.

PhotobucketThe 30 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats from Bracken Cave in Texas eat 250 TONS of insects every summer night. They sometimes fly up to two miles high to feed or to catch tailwinds that carry them over long distances, and can fly at speeds of more than 60 miles per hour.

PhotobucketA single colony of 150 Big Brown Bats can protect local farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.

PhotobucketMany important agricultural plants, like bananas, peaches, bread-fruit, mangoes, cashews, almonds, dates and figs rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal. 

PhotobucketAll mammals can contract rabies; however, even the less than half of one percent of bats that do, normally bite only in self-defense and pose little threat to people who do not handle them.

PhotobucketNearly 40% of American bat species are in severe decline or already listed as endangered or threatened. Losses are occurring at alarming rates worldwide.

PhotobucketProviding bat houses can help build the populations of many valuable bat species that eat many crop-damaging insects, such as cucumber and June beetles, stink bugs, leafhoppers and corn worm moths. Bat houses furnish places for bats to roost, hibernate and raise young.

For more amazing bat facts, please visit: 

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