Bats help us control pests. In fact, some species feast on as many as 1,000 mosquitoes an hour while other dine on thousands of pest beetles and moths a night. There are more than 1,000 species of bats in the world. All of these bats make up about a quarter of all mammals in existence. Bats help many plants: Hundreds of plant species rely on the pollinating and seed dispersal services of bats including bananas, avocados and mangos. Bats are the most diverse group of mammals: The smallest weighs less than a penny and the largest has a wingspan of up to six feet. Bats are the only mammal that can truly fly.
Fascinating Facts about Bats
Bat fact: There are more than 1,000 species of bats in the world. All of these bats make up about a quarter of all mammals in existence.
Bat fact: Bats help many plants. Hundreds of plant species rely on the pollinating and seed dispersal services of bats including bananas, avocados and mangos.
Bat fact: Bats are the most diverse group of mammals. The smallest weighs less than a penny and the largest has a wingspan of up to six feet.
Bat fact: Bats are the only mammal that can truly fly.
Here are some answers to many of the most commonly asked bat questions we get:
|Q:||What good are bats?|
|Bats provide humans with many benefits, Bats eat millions of pounds of insects nightly, saving farmers millions of dollars in pesticides, and saving the average homeowner a great deal of money in insect repellent and electricity for running expensive bug zappers.|
|Q:||Do bats make good pets?|
|No. Bats do not make good pets, any more than a wild bird makes a good pet. Bats are meant to be wild creatures and have not become domesticated like dogs and cats. A bat in captivity is very unhappy, stressed to its limit and probably would not live out its entire lifespan. It is illegal to keep bats as pets.|
|Q:||How long do bats live?|
|Different species of bats live different lengths of time. The smaller micro-bats that hibernate through the winter can live as long as 35 years. That is relatively long considering their small size. Larger bats found in the tropics tend to not live as long, probably because they do not hibernate.|
|Q:||When do bats hibernate?|
|This depends on the species of bat and the climate in which the bat lives. Colony roosing bats (e.g., big browns, little browns and evening bats) begin their hibernation as early as October if the weather is cold. Our solitary roosting bats (red bats and hoary bats) can withstand cooler temperatures and are sometimes found in more northern areas until Novermber or early December.|
|Q:||Do all bats have rabies?|
|No, not all bats have rabies, just as not all rabbits, raccoons or foxes have rabies. Rabies is a serious virus that affects the brain tissue of mammals, and although it is true that bats can get rabies, they are not carriers of the virus.|
|Q:||What is the quickest way to get a bat out of my house?|
|If you have a bat flying around inside your house, the easiest way to get it out is to open a door or window and calmly sit down to watch and wait for the bat to fly out. You do not have to turn off the lights. If this does not work, throw a soft towel or blanket over the bat and gently place it outside. Remember, bats are small and fragile creatures, they will be more scared of you. Using an object to harm a bat is not necessary.|
|Q:||Do bat houses really work?|
|Bat houses have long been a subject of controversy. Do they work? Is there any benefit to putting one up? Is there a disadvantage to putting one up? The new style bat houses, like our Woodlink houses work extremely well. By putting up a bat house, you are providing a much needed home for bats. Every day thousands of bats are being evicted from their roosts and homes. Natural habitat for bats is becoming more and more scarce. Your bat house will give a home to bats that would otherwise quickly die if they could not find a suitable place to live. The bats that live in your bat house are doing you a tremendous favor, they are eating thousands of insects nightly during warm weather.|
|Q:||If I put up a bat house, will the bats interfere with my bird feeder?|
|No. Bats do not compete with birds, either for space or food. Bats and birds come out at different times to forage. Birds are out from sunrise to sunset, while bats are out from sunset to sunrise. Also, bats are not aggressive feeders and would not drive away birds even if they were out during the day. Besides, North American bats don’t eat bird seed.|
|Q:||Will bats come back to the same bat house every year?|
|Yes. Once a colony of bats has found your house, they will use that same house every year. If you live in a climate where bats hibernate, like here in northeast Kansas, the bats will leave the bat house during the winter months and hibernate and will return to your bat house in the spring to raise their young.|
|Q:||If I put up a bat house near my home, will bats move into my attic?|
|No. Bats attracted to your bat house will not automatically move into your attic. Bats prefer to roost in their own house, and some people have reported colonies of bats moving from attics into bat houses when available. When putting up a bat house it is good to know that you already have bats in your neighborhood. Putting up a house is not going to necessarily attract them to your area. The bigger the house the better. If you put up a small house your likely to attract bachelor bats, not a colony. Bat houses can be placed on a tree, pole, house, barn, garage or any structure at least 15 feet tall. The higher that house is places the better your chances of attracting bats. Keep in mind that a house placed in a tree usually will attract bats one season later than houses places on open structures or poles, because the tree canopy conceals the houses. Two houses placed back to back on a pole would offer a great chance of attracting bats. Position the house to face the south or southeast, preferably so they get morning sunlight. Bats like their house very warm, especially bats in nursery colonies. You can even paint the outside of your bat house black to maximize the house’s heat absorption. Just make sure to use non-toxic paint and never paint the inside of the house.|