Bats are perceived as scary creatures of the night or as a blood sucking vampire, but in reality, we need these harmless animals to survive
Although bats should be respected as a sentient being alone, we will break down how they benefit humans economically and environmentally. We need bats to survive, bats play a crucial role in our ecosystems, and without them, we would suffer devastating consequences.
They provide natural pest control. Think about all the mosquito-borne diseases we are exposed to on a nightly basis and be thankful that bats consume over 1000 mosquitoes an hour! A pregnant or nursing bat will consume her body weight in insects every night, helping us fight mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue, malaria, West Nile virus, chikungunya, and many others. Bats lunch on many pests such as the corn earworm moth that would otherwise destroy crops. The corn earworm larvae also endanger the plants by creating infection with a destructive fungus, which produces toxic and cancer causing byproducts, and causes serious health hazards for livestock and affect the value of the crop. Bats provide this invaluable service and help reduce the amount of pesticides farmers use, less contamination to our food and the environment.
They are also on pollination duty, pollinating fruit trees, flowers and Mexico’s agave which we need to make tequila. Humans have attempted to imitate the pollination process, but it is not as efficient as the bat’s technique, bats being the only mammal which can fly, cover vast areas while cross-pollinating plants creating stronger and improved genetic diversity.
They are also great fertilizers. Bat droppings, called guano, are a natural way to fertilize plants without chemicals. Bat guano also plants seeds as fruit-eating bats disperse seeds, restoring plant life to land that has been cleared, especially in the rainforest where land has been stripped of vegetation.
The vampire bat’s saliva produces an anti-coagulating enzyme which aids in taking blood from an animal. Scientists are exploring this serum as a way to treat strokes and heart attacks. Researchers are also studying the bat’s resistance to malaria, one day they may provide a better way for humans to deal with this deadly disease.
So think about bats when you are enjoying food, chocolate, or breathing fresh air, and when you sip tequila, salute the bat for making all this possible. Salude!