I’ll bet you didn’t realize that October is National Bat Appreciation Month, or that October 24-31 is Bat Week http://www.batcon.org/ . I learned this when I clicked on Tuesday’s bing.com photo https://www4.bing.com/search?q=Common+pipistrelle+bat&form=hpcapt&filters=HpDate:%2220181030_0700%22
where I learned that bats:
– help us by devouring tons of insects and forest pests
– and by pollinating some of our favorite fruits
– are one of the largest and longest living species on earth
– the smallest bat – called appropriately enough Bumblebee Bat – has a body about 1 inch long
– white-nosed syndrome has decimated some bat populations since being identified in 2006
When I checked in my Mammals in Minnesota Field Guide (by Stan Tekiela), I found that Minnesota hosts both the Big and Little Brown Bats, the Northern Myotis, and the Red, Silver-Haired, and Hoary Bats.
– these live 15-20 years – females often gather in “maternity colonies” of between 30 and 75 bats, depending on species
– some species live in holes in trees or even under bark, and either migrate or hibernate in winter
– others make their summer homes in attics, church steeples, barns and other buildings; spend winters in caves and mines
– most Minnesota bats are between 1-1/2” and 4”, with wingspans between 8” and 16”
Bats are our friends. One way to help them is to build or buy a bat box, giving them a safe place to roost:
Got any bat stories? What actor played your favorite Batman, or your favorite Count Dracula?