Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I'm Batty

I guess my love for the only flying mammal started by reading Stellaluna by Janell Cannon to my daughter years ago. We even had the little stuffed animal Stellaluna that you could velcro around the bedpost. It's hard not to love this critter:

Lately, bats are having a hard time...they are endangered, and, according to this NY Times article, perishing from a mysterious cause biologists haven't identified. (You know, like the honey bees.)

Bat houses help. I put mine up a couple of months ago, and I'm waiting for the migrating bats to move in.

The National Organization for Bat Conservation has lots of info...like, did you know a bat house is either a "nursery" with females and young, or a "bachelor" house with males ( that would be a frat bat house?)

Also, according to the site:
"Bats are not blind, and are very clean animals. They do not get caught in peoples’ hair or chew through the attic of your house. Bats will not interfere with feeding backyard birds, and they will not be disrupted by pets or children."

What Bats will do is pollinate (they are night pollinator
s) and eat a S*!@ load of mosquitoes. After all, bats are the primary predators of night-flying insects.

Okay, so I'll get off my bat box in a minutue, but first, even if you don't find these much maligned critters particulary appealing, know that bats play a vital role in maintaining the balance of nature:

"As consumers of vast numbers of pests, they rank among humanity’s most valuable allies. A single little brown bat can catch hundreds of mosquito-sized insects an hour, and a typical colony of big brown bats can protect local farmers from the costly attacks of 18 million root-worms each summer." So maybe my backyard neighbors are freaked out, but my bathouse is mounted on a 16-foot pole...here...away from trees (Bats don't like the houses on trees) and is facing southeast to take advantage of the morning sun.

I'm hoping I'll look up one day and see them snug like this:

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