Learn About Bats: Interesting Bat Facts
With seventeen species of bats living in North Carolina, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen one at this point. If your reaction is to squeal and run away or to take a closer look, learn about bats with these amazing facts.
Bats are one of the most unique animals that grace our planet Earth which is why there are so many amazing facts to learn about bats. But as cool as they may be, you don’t want them living in your home.
Keep reading to learn about bats and find out what makes them great, and when they become a problem that you need to remove.
Basic Bat Facts
When you start to learn about bats, you’ll find out there are over 1,000 species of bats worldwide, and they are the only kind of flying mammal in existence. That’s right — even the flying squirrel can only glide for short periods of time. Bats can actually take off and fly as birds do.
They live in nearly all corners of the earth (except for extreme deserts and tundras). In the US alone there are about 45 species of bats. However, bats are extremely varied animals. They can be as small as a penny to as large as six feet wide.
They even like to eat different things! Facts about bats can be a little complicated because they’re all so different! Some bats prefer fruit or animal blood while others eat nasty insect pests. The fruit-eating bats are excellent pollinators like bees.
Most bats are nocturnal and use echolocation to move about in the dark. This means that they let out high-pitched sounds and wait for the sound to bounce back to them. The location and speed of the echo tell them where objects are.
Kinds of Bats in North Carolina
There are several kinds of bats living in North Carolina. Next time you’re looking to learn about bats with your kids, let them know that their own backyard could house over 15 species of bats. They all pose generally the same threat to homes and face the same issues, but there are key differences.
The most common bats in North Carolina are the Evening Bat, Seminole Bat, Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Hoary Bat, Eastern Red Bat, and Big Brown Bat. There are several other kinds of bats that live in North Carolina but are either uncommon or even endangered. Threats to habitat and disease are hurting bat populations worldwide, but there are things you can do to help.
The Big Brown Bat is one of the most common bats in the US and also one of the biggest (hence the name). It’s worth noting that though it’s the biggest in the US, it isn’t very big. It’s still considered a microbat with a wingspan of 35 centimeters (approximately 14 inches).
If you want to see the biggest bat (a flying fox) you’ll need to make a trip to South Asia or Australia. A disappointing fact to learn about bats is that you’ll only be seeing tiny bats in North Carolina.
North American bats mostly prefer to eat insects right out of the sky! They use their echolocation skills to find them and then snatch them out of midair. It’s a wonderful site to see in the early evening – bats swooping and diving to grab bugs out of the sky. It’s like a lovely bat dance.
For that reason, many people find that having bats in their backyard is a good thing. Homes with bats can worry less about moths eating the clothes in their closets or mosquitoes eating their blood in the summer. Both of those bugs are a bat delicacy.
And a single bat can eat more than its body weight in bugs every single night! That’s a lot fewer bugs to worry about at your next backyard barbecue. Gardens with bats also tend to need fewer chemical pesticides.
Dangers to Bats
Bats have very few natural predators. Occasionally, they may fall victim to birds of prey such as owls, but disease and loss of habitat are really their greatest worries.
White-nose syndrome is a fungus that attacks hibernating bats during the winter. It appears as a crusty white substance on their noses and wings. It has killed 90% of three different species of bats in the past few years. The best way to protect bats from this disease is to not enter their hibernating areas – to prevent the spread.
You can also offer housing to bats. Bat boxes can be placed high up in trees for bats to live in. It may even encourage them not to make a home in your attic.
When Bats Become a Problem
While bats can help you get rid of certain pests, there are also certain risks of having them around. Bat guano or droppings can carry nasty diseases such as histoplasmosis. If you and your family are experiencing the symptoms of a fungal infection, it may be worth searching your attic for bats.
Bats unfortunately can also carry rabies. You should never touch a wild bat, and if you are touched by one you should seek medical attention. Rabies is a very serious disease that can be too late to treat once symptoms begin.
If you believe your home has a bat infestation, you need to call in a bat professional for help. There are humane options that include removing the bats and plugging up any holes so that they can go find somewhere else to live. Consider putting up those bat boxes!
While these steps/tips will help reduce the likelihood of a bat infestation, there is no guaranteed way to eliminate all risks.
Bat Facts for Fun and Education
Bats are fascinating creatures with many benefits to us and the environment. Hopefully, these bat facts have helped you learn about bats, appreciate them more, and educate you on the dangers of having these magnificent creatures in your home.
If you are worried that you have bats in a place you don’t want them, you should contact us! We’ll set you up with a consultation.