Halloween is upon us and it’s the time of year when we all love a bit of spooky fun. Witches, ghosts and all things that go bump in the night. We love a bit of dress up in Little Muddy Boots and have lots of fun with pumpkins too. But there is one thing we wanted to clear the air about… bats aren’t scary!
In fact they’re actually really sweet, above is a picture of our founder Hannah holding one when she was a little girl. Don’t think bats are cute? Have a look at this gorgeous Youtube video of little baby bats being cared for after losing their mother.
Why Bats Aren’t Scary
Bats play an important part in the ecosystem here in the UK and across the world. In the UK they are really fundamental in helping us manage the insect population. Not a fan of mosquito bites? Well they you need more bats because 70% of the world’s bats eat insects, mosquitoes among them. They are so good at keeping the insect population under control that in some regions they can reduce the need for pesticides, which is definitely a good thing for the natural world. Without bats we would have a massive and rather unpleasant insect problem.
In some parts of the world, bats are actually pollinators and are attracted to pale coloured, nocturnal flowers, as opposed to more brightly coloured ones that bees are usually drawn to. If you’re a tequila lover, then you have bats to thank for as it is one of the plants they pollinate. In some parts of the world they also play an important part in seed dispersal in forests.
Bats never attack people and if you see one swooping down there’s a good chance they might be saving you from an insect bite as they have spotted something delicious for their dinner.
Amazing Bat Facts
- While the majority of bats are nocturnal, which means they sleep in the day and come awake at night, there are some that are awake and hunt in the day time too
- Bats are the only flying mammal in the world
- Some bats can eat 3000 insects, the equivalent to their own body weight per night!
- Bats find their food at night by using something called echolocation. They use high pitched sounds to bounce off the world around them and the way that sound bounces back to them effectively enables them to ‘see’.
- Certain species bats can fly at speeds of 60mph!
- Bats live for up to 30 years and usually have one baby per year
- A lot of bat species, though not all, hibernate during the winter
Why Bats Need our Help
Unfortunately most bat species are either endangered or vulnerable. The pipistrelle, the most common bat in the UK declined by 70% between 1978 and 1993. Things have improved but there are still some very serious threats to bats including loss of habitat (bats live in hedgrows, woodland and ponds), use of chemicals in farming, building and development work, wind turbines, lighting, cat attacks and fishing hooks.
How Can We Help Bats?
So this Halloween don’t be scared of bats, instead think how you might be able to help them, because we need them for the natural world to thrive.
You could build a bat box and put one in your garden. Turn off any unnecessary lights at night. Create a garden full of night-scented flowers, make sure to include some pale-coloured flowers. Build a pond, keep cats indoors at night, avoid using pesticides and chemicals in your garden, these are just a few things you can do to help.
Also do check out bats.org who have some fantastic information and do lots of conservation work.