Bats! Spooky & Misunderstood

Photo Credit: Daniel Neal

These precious creatures are actually more closely related to humans than rodents! They don’t suck your blood, or attack humans, though they’ll likely bite when handled out of self-protection. Never handle a bat!  Here in the San Bernardino Mountains there are 20 species of bats, and all fit within the palm of your hand. These tiny mammals live to about 30 years, and usually only have one baby pup a year! We still don't know for sure, but they probably hang upside down so they can drop quickly into flight to flee predators.

Most bats in America eat insects, and the average bat can eat over 1000 mosquitos an hour, making them an obvious asset in pest control. Bats are also important pollinators, especially to night flowering agave and cactus. In other countries they're extremely beneficial in restoring rainforests too. Here in Big Bear where we don’t have many caves, bats live under bridges, in attics, and in mineshafts. Mineshafts and habitats in the area are gated off from exploration in winter, because disturbing bats during hibernation can kill them, and can even wipe out whole colonies.

Fast facts!

  • Bats live for around 30 years.
  • Bat babies are called pups!
  • They keep harmful insects in check.
  • They’re important for seed dispersal and pollination.
  • Disturbing them during hibernation can kill them.
  • They’re not a threat to public health.
  • Bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes all pose similar rabies risk to humans.
  • Bats can eat 1,200 mosquitos an hour!
  • Bats are threatened by habitat loss, pesticides, and fear-based extermination by humans.

Help bats by supporting reduced & regulated pesticide use, habitat protection, and bat gate projects that allow bats room to fly into habitat spaces while keeping people out. You might even be able to install a bat box at your home! 

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