Bats have a reputation for being one of the spooky animals associated with Halloween. However, a bat’s voracious appetite for flying insects is one of the reasons it is great to have these unique flying mammals.
People can learn more about bats and the benefits they provide to humans at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) virtual program “Bats of Missouri”. This free online program will run from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 12. This program is open to all ages. People can register on: https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/180133.
In this program, MDC naturalist Jessie Ballard will discuss the bat species that can be found in Missouri, their physical characteristics, and how a bat uses echolocation (sound emissions high frequency that can locate objects in complete darkness) to be an effective hunter. . A bat can eat up to 3000 flying insects in a single night. To scale that number up, bats are estimated to eat around 100,000 tonnes of crop pests each year.
This pest control benefit provided by bats, coupled with the pollination services provided by certain bat species, has a financial value of approximately $ 23 billion to North American agricultural efforts. Ballard will discuss what people can do to help bats and the habitats they need to survive.
Although the program is free, registration is required to participate. Registrants must provide an email so that a link to the program can be sent to them. This program will include a chat-based question-and-answer period where participants can interact with the presenters.
Photo: Little brown bats are one of the bat species that people can discover during a virtual program from the Missouri Department of Conservation on Oct. 12. (Photo courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation)