October brings fall leaves, pumpkin spice, and the start of a new season. October is also Bat Appreciation Month. While bats are often portrayed as something to fear, especially in Halloween movies, they’re typically harmless to humans and can benefit the environment.
Here are some fun facts about these small flying mammals:
- There are more than 1,400 bat species found around the world.
- Bats can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
- Bat droppings are used to make gunpowder and fertilizer.
- Not all bats hibernate! Some spend the cooler months migrating to warmer places.
- Bats are pollinators! Fruits like bananas, avocados, and mangoes are just some of the plants that bats pollinate every year.
- Bats eat night insects and can consume their body weight in insects overnight!
- They are the only mammals that can fly.
- Some species of bat can fly up to 100 miles per hour!
- More than 12 species of bats are endangered in the US.
- Bats are self-grooming like cats!
- Baby bats are called pups, and a group of bats is known as a colony.
- Bats have belly buttons!
- Bats have helped advance medical research on vaccines and developing devices to help the blind.
- There are only 3 species of vampire bats, and none of them drink human blood. Don’t worry about a bat attack—they will only bite humans if provoked.*
While bats are mostly harmless in the wild, they don’t belong in your home. To prevent bats from becoming overnight guests, make sure to seal off possible entry points to your home and attic. Replace torn window screens, fill gaps with caulk, and use a chimney cap.
*Bats usually avoid humans, but if you do have contact with a bat and get scratched or bitten, it’s best to visit a doctor immediately because they can carry harmful diseases.