When we think about mammals most of what immediately comes to mind are those such as rabbits, bears, deer and a variety of other hairy members of the animal kingdom. But what about North America’s only winged-mammal?
Often eliciting the ‘heebie-jeebies’ in many folks, the fact of the matter is bats are nothing to be feared. In fact, these small mammals should be revered, if anything else. When it comes to bats, these creatures of the night are wildly beneficial to the natural world in more ways than many of us ever give them credit for.
So just how beneficial are bats and why? Follow along as we break down a few of our favourite reasons for having bats right in our own backyard.
We love our honey bees and do everything in our power to protect them. Along with bees and small birds such as hummingbirds, bats are a driving force in the pollination of many plants and fruits. When it comes to diversity, can we really afford to not have another key group of pollinators around?
In addition to pollinating during the nighttime hours (when other pollinators are sleeping), bats are also quite effective at distributing seeds. When it comes to seed dispersion, the bat’s guano (or poop), is wildly effective in colonizing open areas with fresh growth.
Bats are hungry and on an annual basis, they consume millions upon millions of flying insects, including mosquitos. In just one hour of feeding, bats can consume upwards of 1,200 insects and when you consider how many of those insects must be mosquitos during the summer months, it’s hard not to appreciate their insatiable appetites.
Additionally, the insects the consume around agricultural properties can be so beneficial that they can reduce the number of insecticides used on any given property. Here in Canada, it’s been reported that bats have played a crucial role in eradicating the corn rootworm moth that affected areas no longer utilize harmful insecticides. Great news for our natural world!
Bats in Your Yard
So, you’ve been convinced that bats are great to have around, now how do we keep them around? It’s simple. Considering there are likely bats in your area, a reliable water source and some bat houses are really all you need to get started in protecting these flying mammals of the night. In some cases, bats will take to a new bat house in just a matter of hours after installation. As such, we carry two bat houses in our stores here in the Ottawa area.