Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bats swoop on unwary people. Old folks warn us not to go out at dusk or at night - and never alone.

Dr Abe V Rotor


Fruit bat. A clumsy fruit bat may drop its load in the middle
of the night, and on hitting the roof of a house, sows fear about
mannananggal or half-bodied vampire lurking around.
Internet Photo, 2012

Bats, the only true flying mammals are perhaps the most misunderstood creatures because of their ugly looks and enigmatic life embellished with superstitious beliefs and associated with fiction such as the story of Dracula, a bloodthirsty count-vampire in the world of the undead. Movies, cartoons, and children’s stories have projected a bad image of bats, giving us the impression they are enemies of mankind.

The truth is that bats are harmless, except for three known species called vampire bats that feed on the blood of animals. Seventy percent of the one thousand species of bats live on insects as their daily diet. One bat can devour 1000 mosquitoes in one hour. The bigger species eat on fruits (fruit bats). Insectivorous bats swoop down on flying insects in the dark which they detect by means of echolocation (natural radar) making it appear that they are attacking people when they get too close to them.

Bats are nature’s biological agents in controlling destructive insects. They pollinate plants that bloom only in the night, and they are very efficient in disseminating seeds of many plants. By carrying out these functions bats are crucial in maintaining the ecological balance of fragile ecosystems like the desert and chaparral. Their droppings accumulated for years in their cave dwellings make the best and safest organic fertilizer (guano). Let us protect the bats instead; they are indeed man’s valuable friends. ~

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