Climate Change, COVID-19 and Bat Week

Are Bats our friends or
are they a menace?

While visiting family in Monroe, WA, we discovered a small bat had blundered into the house. I believe I saw a representative range of reactions, from extreme fear and hat-wearing through calm attempts to help the bat escape.

Bat Week — October 24-31

Bats eat insects, fruit, and yes, blood. National Geographic says that 40 percent of insect species are in decline, and NBC News reports that Earth’s insect population has shrunk 27 percent in 30 years. Mexico’s vampire bats are fleeing hotter temperatures and expanding their range into newly warmer winter areas. Bat Conservation International claims that 30,000 flying foxes have died over the last 30 years in New South Wales, Australia, apparently because of at least 19 episodes of extreme heat.

Bats have been on Earth for more than 50 million years.
Bats are natural hosts to coronaviruses, however humans are responsible for the transfer to and the spread of COVID-19 in humans.
Many bat species are also currently endangered. What does this mean for our environment, and the bats?

  • 67 plant families rely on bats as their major or exclusive pollinators
  • 3000+ species of plants rely on bats for seed dispersal, including pioneer plant species
  • Bats can consume more than half their body weight in insects each night
  • $23 Billion and more, in agricultural and human health savings for the planet every year
  • 200+ Bats species are considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The National Park reservation system is promoting places that bats can be seen, and claim,
Sometimes Even Bats Need a Super Hero.

Vampire bats socially distance when they feel sick — Popular Science

The nocturnal creatures’ social networks are among the most complex in the animal world.

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