October 24th-31st is known as “Bat Week”. As we gear up for Halloween, I wanted to share a few facts about one “spooky” species – bats.
According to Oregon’s Department of Fish & Wildlife, Oregon is home to 15 different species of bats, all of which eat insects. There are a lot of misconceptions about these small mammals, and this lack of knowledge fuels people’s fear.
Did you know?
- A single adult bat can eat up to one thousand insects in an hour, and some, such as the Pallid bat, can even eat scorpions!
- Bats actually can see, but use echolocation to find food.
Unfortunately the populations of over half of Oregon’s bat species are declining or at risk.
What can you do to help bats?
- Decrease or avoid the use of pesticides – these can kill bats’ food sources and pollute the water that they – and all of us – need to survive.
- Preserve areas of open water; bats dip down to sip water while flying.
- Keep your cats inside; not only are outdoor cats more likely to be hit by cars, but cats kill bats, birds, and other wildlife when allowed to roam.
- Leave standing dead trees and snags rather than cutting them down; bats use these as roosts to raise young.
- If there aren’t any natural roosting areas nearby, you can build and put up bat houses on your property to provide bats with a place to go during the day.