Bats – Small Harbingers of Halloween

October’s end brings the traditional last of the harvest: as the growing season ends, with it the Wheel of the Year winds down, and it’s time to store provisions and prepare for winter. To reflect on the past year, and to turn inward and remember those we love who are gone. Now, the veil between the living and the dead is barely there at all – thus celebrations and commemorations such as Samhain, Halloween, and Dia de los Muertos.

Bats, perhaps more than any other animal are associated with this time of year. The lowly little bat is a misunderstood creature; superstitions caused many throughout the centuries to fear them. But without these endangered keystone species, the health of natural ecosystems (and humans, as part of them) would suffer greatly.

The more than 1,300 bat species are major insectivores – consuming some of the most destructive agricultural pests; and they pollinate many of the fruits that support human and animal populations worldwide. They disperse seeds that contribute to the survival and restoration of threatened landscapes such as rainforests. Their guano also provides excellent fertilizer for communities and farmers.

Bat Conservation International is a global nonprofit that combats (no pun intended) threats to these animals such as white nose syndrome – a deadly fungus from Eurasia that’s now also decimating millions of bats in North America. One goal I have is to try to encourage local bat populations by building a bat box – updates to come!

Happy Halloween/Samhain/Day of the Dead to everyone!

Little brown bat (photo courtesy of USGS)

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About thislittleplot

Writer, hiker, loafer
This entry was posted in Conservation, Nature, Seasons, Uncategorized, Wildlife and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Bats – Small Harbingers of Halloween

  1. I built a bat house as a wee lad many years ago, although I don’t know if any bats ever moved in. At any rate, bats are important and fascinating creatures. Thanks for writing about them.

  2. Shonna says:

    The bat in your photo is just adorable… I want to squeeze him ever so gently!! We’re also planning a bat box some day soon, funny you mentioned it. Happy Samhain!

  3. owlwoman says:

    Lovely post.

    Several years back my parents had a spate of Pipistrelle bats coming in to their house. It meant we managed to get up close to the little creatures in order to get them outside. A great experience and none of them seemed the worse for it.

    • How magical and special that sounds! They are amazing creatures. We just spent a couple of weeks in Yelapa, Mexico, just south of Puerto Vallarta, and had regular bat visitors every evening to our room. Wish we could hold and pet them, too.

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