In an effort to help bring awareness to all the good that bats do, NDOW is once again taking part in Bat Week from Oct. 25-31. Bat Week is an annual, international celebration of the role of bats in nature organized by a team of representatives including Bat Conservation International, Organization for Bat Conservation and the U.S. Forest Service. NDOW has scheduled several items for bat week including sending out a bat fact of the day, featuring bats on its weekly Nevada Wild podcast and posting a photo gallery of Nevada bats on the Nevada Wild website at www.nevadawild.org.
Newmark points to a handful of urban myths that have given bats a bad reputation.
"It's actually kind of funny when you think about all of the misconceptions people have about bats," said Newmark. "The reality is that bats play a pivotal role in almost every ecosystem. They quietly go about all night long eating insects and helping us get rid of pests. But because we don't see them, we often don't appreciate all that they really do for us."
She points to several examples of the benefit that bats play around the world. In tropical systems, they are critical pollinators and seed dispersers. If you like bananas, mangoes, and tequila then you can thank bats as they are responsible for pollinating the plants that produce these products. Closer to home, bats in Nevada and much of North America are all insectivorous, meaning their diet consists of insects like moths, mosquitoes and even scorpions. Bats are the only night-time predators of insects, and without them, insect populations would grow catastrophically. Many of the insects that bats target are severe threats to crops and farmlands.
"A colony of 150 big brown bats can protect local farmers from up to 18 million or more rootworms each summer," said Newmark. "There are 20 million free-tailed bats that live in Bracken Cave in Texas. Those bats eat 250 tons of insects each night. It is unimaginable what our world would be like if we didn't have bats consuming these insects."
Learn more here: http://www.ndow.org/Bats-Get-Bad-Rep-Halloween/_
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