Living With Bats
In Arizona there are 28 species of bats—more than almost any other state. Bats are the only flying mammal and are very valuable to humans. They are the primary predators of many insect pests and save farmers and foresters billions of dollars every year. They also help to control insect-spread human diseases.
A large colony of Mexican free-tailed bats can eat hundreds of TONS of moths each week—especially the moths that prey on cotton crops.
Bats play a key role in keeping insect populations in balance, they are quickly declining in North America. Usually a decline is caused by human fear and persecution. Learning how to live with these animals is key to keep them alive and well.
Description and Habits
- Size of your fist or smaller with short fur and thin wings. They may or may not have large ears.
- The fur can be brown, gray, yellow or red. The fur an also be frost-tipped, contain spots and the eyes can have a dark mask.
- Eyesight is comparable to humans
- Eat insects in flight and can eat more than 1000 insects in one hour (including mosquitoes)
- Some drink nectar and can drain a hummingbird feeder overnight.
- They use echolocation to locate a solid object.
- Hang upside down to rest. They like dark, secluded areas during the day.
- Some hibernate during winter, and some stay active all year.
- Most bats have 1-2 young each year, usually born between May and July. Wildlife Management Mesa AZ
- Female bats will nurse offspring and form a maternity roosting area that can contain hundreds or even thousands of bats.
Conflicts with Humans and Pets
While some appreciate the bat and it’s advantages to humans, others fear them. A small percentage of them can expose humans and pets to rabies. Bats should always stay out of places where people live. Bat feces can contain disease and cause major odor problems. They are usually harmless to humans. Wildlife Management Mesa AZ
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