Celebrating the humble bat
Bats have had quite a bad rep recently but are in fact very important animals in ecosystems all over the world. Bats are excellent pollinators and love to drink the sweet nectar inside flowers. As they drink and move from flower to flower, they pick up a dusting of pollen and distribute it to other flowers. Tropical bats are essential to the rain forest, where they pollinate flowers and disperse seeds for a plethora of trees and shrubs. Bananas, mangoes, cashews, dates, avocadoes, peaches, cloves and figs all rely on bats for pollination. Bats eat huge amounts of mosquitos – a single bat can catch up to 600 in one hour – and therefore help to control viruses spread by these insects. Bats produce guano (their manure!) which is rich in nitrogen and is used to fertilise lawns and gardens. Scientists have also been looking at bat saliva as it contains an anticoagulant which could soon be used to treat human heart patients.
These unsung heroes are set to be celebrated on International Bat Night on 28th August. This celebration has been running since 1997 and is celebrated in over 30 countries. This year more than ever bats need your help to raise awareness of their usefulness in your communities and help fundraise for bat conservation. One easy way to spread awareness and re-educate people about the plight of the bat is to recommend the BatChat podcast which covers lots of fun facts about bats and the amazing people who are working hard to protect them. BatChat is easy to find on all major podcast streaming platforms. You could also create a fundraising page and set yourself a challenge to complete to help raise funds. Another option is to sell items on eBay and select Bat Conservation to receive some or all of the sale of your items.
If you do choose to celebrate International Bat Night this year, share your adventures using the #LoveBats and #InternationalBatNight. How you celebrate is up to you, perhaps you’ll go on a night-time bat walk, spend some time building a bat box or indulge in some silly bat-themed crafts or bakes with the children?