Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > April 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Bats in Your Belfry?

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Bats in Your Belfry?

Did you know that April 17th is Bat Appreciation Day?  In April, bats are beginning to wake-up from hibernation so we’ll soon see them fluttering around the sky at dusk.  If we’re lucky…

So here are a few interesting facts about bats:

Bats are members of the order Chiroptera—from the Greek for “hand wing.”  They are native to every continent in the world, except Antarctica.  In China and Japan, they are symbols of happiness and good fortune.

Bats are mammals—they give birth to live young—and they are the only mammal capable of true flight.  Other mammals, like flying squirrels, can glide, but don’t have wings to flap.

The expression “blind as a bat” is not technically correct—bats are not blind.  It’s just that their hearing is so much better than their vision.  They can locate objects as thin as a human hair by a process called echolocation.  They make little noises and can actually hear the sound waves echoing back off an object.  This is why they never really get “caught” in people’s hair.

There are over 1100 species of bats in the world, with around 40 native to the U.S.  There are only three species of vampire bats—none of which are native to the U.S.  Virginia even has a State Bat—the Virginia Big-Eared Bat.

The largest bat in the world is the Flying Fox native to the South Pacific—which has a wing span of five to six feet.  The smallest bat is the Bumble Bee Bat of Thailand—which is, you guessed it, the size of a bumblebee.

Almost 30% of bats are nectar-eaters and serve as important pollinators.  About 70% are insectivores—eating as many as 1000 or more insects in a night—a very good reason to encourage them to hang around.

 To encourage bats to dine in your yard, commercial “bat houses” are available to hang under eaves (you can also find directions online to make your own). It also helps to have a water source, such as a bird bath or fountain.  And planting night-fragrant flowers to attract night insects can also help—though they can certainly find enough mosquitoes to serve as a main course.

So if someone tells you you have Bats in your Belfry, your mosquitoes are the ones who are unlucky…
Posted: 4/17/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 10 comment(s)
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