Holy Flying Mammals Batman!

October 24-31, 2020 is Bat Week, an annual international celebration of our amazing flying friends and their important role in our ecosystem. 

While we may not see these nocturnal beauties very often while we’re going about our daily lives they serve many crucial roles in preserving the health and diversity of our environment; from eating an incredible number of insects, to pollinating flowers and crops, to spreading seeds leading to the germination of new trees and bushes.

With over 14,000 species of bats the variety among species is incredible; the smallest bat is just over an inch long while the largest can have a wingspan of over 5.5 feet! Some feed on fruit (frugivores), some nectar (nectarivores), some insects (insectivores), while others have a more unique feeding specialty (vampire bats). 
What Do You Call a Group of Bats?
A group of bats is called a colony (in a cave), a cloud (flying in a group), or a camp (a unit of bats). 
A cloud of bats (Paul Cryan)
White Nose Syndrome 

One of the major threats to bats right now is White Nose Syndrome (WNS). This is a debilitating fungus that attacks the respiratory system of infected bats. It can be transmitted from cave to cave by bats and by people (spores on shoes and other gear).  

A little brown bat with WNS
(Ryan von Linden, New York Department of Environmental Conservation)

How You Can Help Bats

-learn more about bats and bat week

-share bat info and/or photos on social media using #batweek  

-stay out of caves if possible and if you do visit clean your gear thoroughly

build a bat house

baby flying fox (Julia Boland, USFWS)

lesser long nosed bat
(Bruce D. Taubert/Bat Conservation International)