INTERNATIONAL BAT APPRECIATION DAY
Each year on April 17th, International Bat Appreciation Day reminds us of the roles bats play in our daily lives. April is also the best time of the year to observe bats, as they are now beginning to emerge from hibernation. The observance is an excellent time to learn about the role bats play in nature. Since bats are considered “insectivorous” creatures, they rid our world of many annoying insects. In one hour, a bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes.
Fun Bat Facts:
- Some species of bats live up to 40 years.
- Bats can see in the dark and use their extreme sense of hearing.
- They also use echolocation to find food.
- A bat’s ability to fly makes them unique. In the mammal world, only bats are naturally capable of true and sustained flight.
- There are over 1,200 known species of bats.
- An estimated 48 species of bats make their home in the United States.
- Nearly 70% of bats are insectivores.
- As pollinators, bats, along with bees and butterflies, provide a vital link to our food supply.
- Bats grow in a variety of sizes. One of the largest bats is the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox bat weighing up to 4 lbs with a wingspan of up to 5 feet, 7 inches.
- Bats are also clean animals, grooming themselves almost constantly.
- North America’s largest urban bat colony is found on the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. An estimated 1,500,000 Mexican Free-Tailed bats live there. This colony of bats eats approximately 10,000 to 30,000 lbs of insects each night. An estimated 100,000 tourists visit the bridge annually to watch the bats leave the roost at twilight.
- One 150 Big Brown bats colony protects farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.
- Almost 40% of American bat species are in severe decline, with some already listed as endangered or threatened.
- Three U.S. states have an official state bat. Texas and Oklahoma named the Mexican Free-Tailed bat their state bat, and Virginia dubbed the Virginia Big-Eared bat their state bat.
HOW TO OBSERVE #BatAppreciationDay
- Learn more about bats.
- Read about them or watch a bat documentary.
- Share your experiences with bats, too!
- Use #BatAppreciationDay to post on social media.
- Visit the National Day Calendar Classroom for more resources to help you #CelebrateEveryDay!
- Also, download and print the coloring sheet for this day.
INTERNATIONAL BAT APPRECIATION DAY HISTORY
Bat Conservation International (BCI) started and supports International Bat Appreciation Day. The BCI mission is to conserve the world’s bats and their ecosystems to ensure a healthy planet.
Q. Do bats live on every continent?
A. No. Bats do not live in Antarctica.
Q. What is the world’s largest bat?
A. The flying fox is the world’s largest bat and lives in the tropical forests and swamps of Madagascar, Australia, Asia, and Indonesia. The species is threatened by hunting, with some populations considered endangered.
Q. What is the world’s smallest bat?
A. Kitti’s hog-nosed bat is the world’s smallest species of bat. It is also known as the bumblebee bat. They live in limestone caves in Thailand and Myanmar.
April 17th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
A record 11,747 immigrants passed through Ellis Island on its busiest day ever. Isaac Asimov, Bob Hope, and Claudette Colbert are just a few of the notable people who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island.
Ford unveils the Mustang at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The American car manufacturer initially offered the muscle car in a hardtop and convertible.
Geraldine “Jerrie” Fredritz Mock was the first woman to fly solo around the world, which she did in 1964. She flew a single-engine Cessna 180 christened the “Spirit of Columbus” and nicknamed “Charlie.” The trip began March 19, 1964, in Columbus, Ohio, and ended April 17, 1964, in Columbus, Ohio
The ill-fated flight of Apollo 13 ends with the safe splashdown of the command module. Inside crew members James A. Lovell, Jr., Fred W. Haise, Jr., and John L. Swigert, Jr. survive the mission but miss the opportunity to be the third crew to land on the moon due to the No.2 oxygen tank.
Game of Thrones debuts on HBO. The series ran for eight seasons and is based on author George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire.
April 17th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Thornton Wilder – 1897
The best-selling novelist, Thornton Wilder, received the Pulitzer Prize three times, once for fiction and twice for drama. In 1927, his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey became an American classic. In 1938, Wilder became the only person to win a Pulitzer Prize in both fiction and drama when his play Our Town earned him his second prize. Then in 1942, with the chronologically fractured The Skin of Our Teeth where actors play multiple roles depicting life unchanging, Wilder received his third Pulitzer Prize.
Catherine Coyne – 1907
During World War II, Coyne reported for The Boston Herald from Europe. She traveled with the 1st Army and witnessed the first meeting of the Red Army and the US Army in Torgau.
Sidney Garfield – 1906
In 1945, the American physician co-founded the healthcare system known as Kaiser Permanente.
Georges J F Kohler – 1946
In 1984, Georges J. F. Kohler won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for theories concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system and the discovery of the principle for production of monoclonal antibodies.”