INTERNATIONAL BAT NIGHT (U.S., Europe)
International Bat Night is observed the last full weekend of August. Bat Night started in 1997 and is celebrated in over thirty countries to inform the public about the needs and benefits of bats in nature.
Despite the what movies and novels might say, bats play an important part in keeping balance in nature. They consume insects that spread disease and damage crops. In the United States, little brown bats common in Kansas, use their echolocation to eat over 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour. Bats help distribute plants by passing seeds through their feces. The spread of Guano seeds through bats is the main factor for tropical rainforest reforestation.
Long associated with all things dark and creepy, bats are in fact a friend of man. International Bat Night sets out to dispell the myths and point out that bats are mostly harmless to people. Only three of the thousand-plus species are actually bloodsuckers. Vampire bats are found in the tropics of Mexico, Central and South America, generally consume the blood of sleeping cattle or horses. With sharp teeth, a quick nip usually goes unnoticed by the sleeping animals. Yet even vampire bats have proved to be a benefit. Doctors have studied the anticoagulant qualities of their bites and have used that knowledge in developing medication for heart disease and stroke patients. The greatest threat to people is in the possibility of transmitting rabies.
The expression “blind as a bat” comes from the assumption that a bat’s sense of sight isn’t very good. However, bats have much better vision than humans do and see incredibly well both day and night. The expression “blind as a bat” comes from this assumption. Bats emit a high pitch sound that resonates and bounces off of objects around them, this echolocation (sort of like sonar) helps bats pinpoint the exact location of insects and grab their dinner on the go.
HOW TO OBSERVE
With over 1,200 species of bats, there is plenty to celebrate. Check with your local zoo or the biology department at your area college or university to find out if Bat Night is being observed in your community. We hope you will join us in going to “bat” for them!
Use #InternationalBatNight in social media.
In our research, we were unable to determine the origin of International Bat Night.
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