Not only is October a month full of Fall fun, but it is also a time to appreciate one of nature’s most misunderstood animals–the bat. Bat Appreciation Month highlights the important role that bats play in the ecosystem.
Although bats can be beneficial, they do not make good housemates. Tiny mammals can carry a variety of diseases that are harmful to humans. That’s why it is important to know the risks associated with bats in case you find yourself with winged mammal living in your home or business.
How are Bats Beneficial?
More than 15 bat species are currently listed as federally endangered, threatened or under review in the candidate or petition process under the Endangered Species Act. Bats are typically seen as a nuisance and harmed during human interactions due to several misconceptions that tarnish their reputation. Around Halloween, people associate bats with scary folklore like Vampires. This comes from the idea that all bats drink blood which is not entirely true. Only 3 out of the 1,300 species of bats worldwide drink blood, none of which reside in the United States.
The reality is that bats are not as much of a nuisance to people as we may think. Bats are small animals and are not aggressive toward humans. In fact, they try to avoid human interaction and will take flight if they encounter humans.
There are many benefits associated with bats and our ecosystem, but the main benefit is pollinating and dispersing seeds. Some species of bats consume nectar and assist in pollination for plants like peaches, cloves and bananas. Bats are also the sole pollinator for the agave plant which is a key ingredient in many people’s favorite alcohol- tequila! Other species of bats feed primarily on fruit which results in seed dispersal.
Bats are also important to the economy. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, many bats eat insects that are harmful to crops resulting in agricultural savings of more than $3 billion per year. In the United States corn industry alone, bats eat enough pests to save $1 billion per year in crop damages and pesticide costs.
Know the Risks Associated with Bats in Your Home
The number one goal of Bat Appreciation Month is to bring awareness to the positive impact bats have on the world around us. Despite the positives, there are negative risks associated with bats to be aware of. Bats carry several pathogens that can infect and cause illness in humans. Bat rabies is the most common type of rabies, and if contracted, there is no cure and is usually fatal. They can also carry other diseases such as histoplasmosis, salmonellosis, yersiniosis and external parasites.
If you encounter bats in your home, they are most likely seeking shelter in your attic. Due to their small size, they enter the home through cracks in siding, vents and chimneys that are not sealed properly. In warmer months bats will take residence in attics to give birth, whereas the cooler months are for hibernation.
The first step after finding bats in your home is to call professionals who have the expertise and experience with humane removal. Exclusion is tricky and must be done at the right time to avoid harm to the bats and to prevent them from reentering your home or business. The team at Go Pro Wildlife Removal works daily to uphold our mission of bridging the gap between human interaction and protecting wildlife by humanely removing wildlife so our customers stay healthy and safe.
Bat Appreciation Month is all about correcting the misconception that bats are nothing more than a nuisance. Although there are associated risks, bats are not the harmful menace that many people assume them to be. If you encounter bats in your home, seek the help of professionals like our team at Go Pro Wildlife to ensure your safety and the humane removal of the animal. Give us a call at 334-744-0391 or visit our website to schedule your FREE INSPECTION today.