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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Monday, October 23, 2006

Going batty!

Bats are our friends!

But they may be the most misunderstood animals in the United States (if not the World), even though as consumers of enormous numbers of insects, they rank among the most beneficial.

As a caver, I've encountered quite a few of the little critters...and even rescued a few knocked off their perches by carelessness.

I also saw lots of them in an old mine near my brother's place, while exploring same with him and my nephew a couple of years ago.

Almost all bats in the U.S., and 70% of the bat species worldwide, feed almost exclusively on insects and are thus extremely beneficial. In fact, bats are the only major predators of night-flying insects. One bat can eat between 600 and 1,000 mosquitoes and other insect pests in just one hour.

While most United States bat species are insectivorous, bats in other parts of the world feed on a variety of items in addition to insects. Many species feed primarily on fruit, while several types feed on nectar and pollen.

Fruit bats perform an extremely important function as seed dispersers. Nectar eating bats, including the federally-listed endangered lesser long-nosed and greater Mexican long-nosed bats, are important pollinators. Many plant species depend almost entirely on bats for pollination.

Of the 45 species of bats found in the continental United States, six are federally-listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. These species include the gray bat, Indiana bat, Ozark big-eared bat, Virginia big-eared bat as well as the two long-nosed bats mentioned above. In addition to the listed continental U.S. species, the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus)(Hawaii), little Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus tokudae)(Guam) and Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus mariannus mariannus)(Guam), are also listed as endangered. Twenty other species are considered to be of special concern and may be proposed for listing as endangered or threatened in the future. Populations of several of the remaining species, especially cave-dwelling species, also appear to be declining.

Of course, the bat that gives the rest a bad reputation is the Vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus).

Vampire bats are one of the few bat species that are considered a pest, but exist only in Latin America.

If not for their diet, people would not pay much attention to these small bats, which feed mostly on livestock.

In Latin America, cattle raising is a growing business, and sleeping cattle attract vampire bats. In ranching areas, control programs have been started.

Unfortunately, millions of beneficial bats are destroyed by people who mistake them for vampires.

A vampire bat finds its prey with echolocation, smell, and sound. They fly about one meter above the ground. Then they use special heat sensors in their noses to find veins that are close to the skin.

They don't actually suck blood, however; they make tiny cuts in the skin of a sleeping animal, then lap up the blood that oozes from the wound. A chemical in their saliva numbs the animal's skin and keeps them from waking up, and another chemical keeps the blood from clotting.

In fact, scientists have discovered that vampire bat saliva is better at keeping blood from clotting than any known medicine. Vampire bats may one day help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

So the "bad boy" of bats can be a boon to humanity...

Vampire Bats Help Battle Strokes

25 Comments:

Blogger Beerme said...

I would encourage everyone that hates mosquitos to hang a bat house high in a tree or in the gable of their house. Bats can eat alot of mosquitos!

October 23, 2006 6:39 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Here's hoping the prolific Moon Bat (liberalus jerkius) makes it to the endangered species list SOON!

October 23, 2006 8:03 AM  
Blogger onlineanalyst said...

Skeeters love me. Bats love skeeters. I will learn to live with and love bats swooping in the evening skies.

Lefties typically have bats in the belfry. These must be the type of bats that freeze the oxygen going to their brains.

October 23, 2006 8:35 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Online,
I'll keep the "skeeters".

October 23, 2006 8:47 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Beerme:
I was considering putting up a bat house here at "La Casa de Camo".
(My rambling estate)

MargeinMI:
Wishful thinking, darlin'.

onlineanalyst:
Bats love skeeters and they're fun to watch!

Maggie:
Whatever for?!

October 23, 2006 9:10 AM  
Blogger JR said...

The bats around here are few in number... Do you want to trade for some owls or hawks???

October 23, 2006 11:57 AM  
Blogger pacavewolf said...

What a great photo Jack! Who took it?

October 23, 2006 7:58 PM  
Blogger darth_meister said...

Hmmmm, the photo reminds me of moonbats drinking kool-aid. Now why is that? **rubbing chin**

October 23, 2006 8:07 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

JR:
Where is around there?

pacavewolf:
I think it's a great photo, too; I lifted it HERE, but that particular shot is no longer there, apparently.

darth_meister:
Do you mean like THIS?!

October 24, 2006 12:40 AM  
Blogger JR said...

Around here is the Hill Country of Texas... West of San Antonio...

October 24, 2006 12:07 PM  
Blogger benning said...

Bats good; Democrats bad.

See? I can learn! Bats are fine creatures that are beneficial in so many ways. Besides all that, they can be quite scary. Which is fine if you want your sweetie to get closer!

Hey, did you see this? I wonder how practical this sort of machine is.

October 24, 2006 7:16 PM  
Blogger boberin said...

Keeping us informed as always (I knew lot's, not all of this!)
Sorry if I slow up, finally back to work in a decent gig! Learning how these folks do things is taking most/all of my limited brainpower.
Back to my old self soon!

October 24, 2006 7:35 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

JR:
I was living in Texas when I enlisted; I in-processed in San Antonio.

benning:
Bats are beneficial in many ways, and a good topic this close to Hallowe'en, methinks.

Oh, and yes, I have seen that...but I don't think it's really practical, though.

boberin:
I feel as though keeping people informed is a calling of mine.

Congrats on the new gig...

October 24, 2006 9:34 PM  
Blogger RAM said...

Is it true they "pollinate" cashews?

Have you seen this bat?:

http://www.bluemountain.com/view.pd?i=149549234&m=4772&rr=z&source=bma999

October 25, 2006 3:28 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

RAM:
Yes, I've seen THAT (old) bat repeatedly.

Scary...

October 25, 2006 4:01 AM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Quick Robin! To the Batmobile!

(:D) Regards...

October 26, 2006 7:49 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Hawkeye®:
Same bat time, same bat channel?

October 27, 2006 1:12 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

Maybe the little ones cause no harm and may even be beneficiaol, but don't try to tell me Bela Lugosi was a harmless little critter.

October 27, 2006 9:44 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Barb:
But Bela Lugosi was a harmless little critter; he only played a vampire in the movies.

Good EEEEvening...

October 28, 2006 12:57 AM  
Blogger RAM said...

Camojack: I bet you never saw Bela after he finished off a quart or two of formaldahyde---did you?

;-)

October 28, 2006 3:21 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

RAM:
Can't say I have, no.

Coincidentally, I was just watching an old Bela Lugosi vampire (of course!) flick a few days ago...

October 28, 2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger RAM said...

Camo: That is what was said he drank when he couldn't get a buzz off booze anymore and used it to wash down the morphine.

A word search, Bela Lagosi formaldehyde, produced these links:

http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/search?query=bela+lugosi+formaldehyde&invocationType=spelling&itaq=0.2.1.Ik0Mp2OMzAB&itaq=1.0.1.bela+lugosi+formaldehyde&itaq=2.1.1.

October 28, 2006 7:05 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

RAM:
That's just crazy...but of course, something being crazy doesn't always stop some people from doing it.

Like people who drink Sterno...

October 28, 2006 8:46 PM  
Blogger RAM said...

Bizarre! That's the first I heard of that. Cool article telling of references to "Sterno abuse".

October 30, 2006 1:31 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

RAM:
The first I heard of it, the method of preparation involved straining it through a crust of bread.

There's some mention of it in the Andromeda Strain...

October 30, 2006 3:44 AM  

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