Today Is Bat Appreciation Day!
If your day includes soap, shampoo, cosmetics, a toothbrush and toothpaste, coffee, margarine, paper or ink, cushions, wood furniture, fuel or lubricating fluids, rope or twine, timber, boats or canoes, ornamental trees, life saving medicines, air fresheners, candles, rubber, chewing gum, spices, vegetables, fruits, chocolate or even margaritas or beer, you are not only involved with bats, you are dependent upon bats. Bats pollinate or disperse the seeds of many valuable plants and trees including wild banana, avocado, date, fig, mango, eucalyptus and balsa wood, just to name a few. It is the fruit bats that are responsible for 98% of the reforestation of the world’s rain forests (the lungs of our planet). Without fruit bats we would lose entire forests without felling a single tree.
About seventy percent of all bats are insect eaters that feed on a tremendous diversity of bugs including the pests that consume the crops we need to survive. Each bat is capable of eating a whopping 5,000 insects per night; a lactating female will eat twice that amount. The 20 million bats (the single largest warm blooded mammal colony population on earth), that roost at Bracken Cave in Texas, eat 200 tons of insects each summer evening. Bats eat crop pests that cost farmers billions of dollars annually. Insect control by bats keeps down prices of fruits and vegetables at the market place.
Bats are a keystone species and they have long played essential roles in our lives. Their loss today would compromise the health and stability of our environment. Bat Appreciation Day is a tribute to these little agricultural vacuum cleaners in the sky, controllers of fruit flies, dispersers of seeds, and pollinators of products we both need and desire.
Thank you, dear bats, we would be lost without you.