Why are Bats Important?
Bats are important components in the ecosystem from pollinating plants and distributing seeds, eating insects, and serving as indicator species. Indicator species show a correlation between the health of a species and the health of an ecosystem. For example, declining bat populations can indicate a change in the environment such as habitat loss, biodiversity loss, or climate change.
Role of Bat Boxes:
Sadly many species of bats are declining, primarily as a result of habitat loss. Bat houses provide an alternative home for these species. Normally bats nest in the bark of dead trees or in small crevices; therefore, they require specific artificial house designs. If you are interested in building an artificial bat house in your backyard, check out ‘Build Your Own Bat House’ on the Organization for Bat Conservation Website at http://cms.batconservation.org/drupal/build_your_own.
Bat houses can range in size from individual bat boxes to community bat boxes. In some locations community bat houses are built to house up to 30 000 bats. No matter what size the bat house is, it must be mounted in a high location so bats can easily fly in and out. Furthermore, all bat boxes should contain a landing area below the entrance of the box.
Interesting Facts about Bats:
- One Little Brown Myotis bat can consume 1000+ mosquitoes in an hour
- A colony of 150 Big Brown Bats can eat enough cucumber beetles in a summer to prevent egg laying that would infest local gardens with rootworm
- Less than one percent of all bats have rabies
- There are over 1000 different species of bats
- Bats are active at night (nocturnal)