Friday, July 27, 2007

Bats At The Library

Little Brown Bat

Jerry Schneider came to the children's last summer library program today to teach us about bats. I attended because of my own bat experience. The library basement was jammed with over twenty children and approximately ten adults. Jerry showed us slides of photos taken by Merlin Tuttle founder of the Bat Conservation International. After the presentation, the children made their own bat t-shirts with bat stencils and fabric paint.

Skeleton of a little brown bat
  • You can visit bat caves in Dorset, Vermont.
  • There are nine species of bats in Vermont but the little brown bat, Northern long-eared bat, and the big brown bat are most common.
  • Bats pollinate night blooming flowers (none are in Vermont) and they disperse seeds.
  • Vermont bats eat millions of bugs every night.
  • Bat boxes will help keep bats out of your attic.
  • Hawks, owls, skunks and domestic pets prey on bats.
  • Bat babies are called pups.
Examples of what bats eat in New England
  • Bats can live about 34 years but the average life span is 15-25 years.
  • Bats can fly at 35 miles per hour (56.3 kilometers per hour).
  • Bats can see as well as humans so they need to use echo location to prevent flying into things at night and to locate bugs in the air.
  • Best bat book: Stokes Beginner's Guide to Bats
  • A bat's echo location call frequency is from 38-63 kH
  • Bats evolved from rodents. They grew fingers that evolved into wings. They have thumbs to hang off of trees.
  • Only 5% of the reports of rabid bats are true.
Wingnut makes his own bat shirt.
  • Female bats congregate in bat houses, caves and attics to nurse their young. Males are usually alone in trees.
  • If you have a bat in the house, turn off the lights and open the windows so it can escape.
  • You can also use a net or blanket to carefully capture it and free it.
  • Bats have gaps in their teeth so that their echo location call is not blocked.
  • Some bats make echo location calls in their noses.
  • About 50 bats can fit inside a bat house.
  • Put your bat house about ten feet high on the south side of your house.
The design is finished.
  • The bumble bee bat is the smallest bat.
  • Bats are social creatures and need their colonies in order to thrive.
  • Bats are the only flying mammal.
  • Bats are born alive.
  • Bats are attracted to areas with lots of bugs, like fields and marshlands.
  • The pallid bat can hear beetles walking on the forest floor.
  • If slowed down to frequencies that humans can hear, bat calls sound like bird calls.
Painting the design on the shirt.

I talked to Jerry privately after his presentation to ask him if it were true to get the series of rabies shots if you awaken to a bat in your room. He said yes. But he emphasized that the reports of rabid bats are greatly exaggerated.

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  1. Now that was an interesting post on bats. We have them here and they carry a virus called Lissavirus which is fatal to humans.

    We also have several types, the most popular being the flying fox or the fruit bat. They eat the mangoes, oranges, pears, apples and also the flowers off the trees. We hear them at night fighting and squabbling and making an awful noise. Yet, it's the most wonderful sight to see hundreds upon hundreds of them set off at dusk on their feeding forays.

    It's a sight tourists pay to see, but we have it free every night in the summer. My daughter has a huge bat colony down the back of her place and we often watch them in the evenings.

  2. Very interesting post! I may have to get that bat book since I obviously know a lot less about bats than I thought. Fascinating information!

    Sorry I have been a poor visitor, but I am still away. Enjoy your weekend!


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