It’s not as creepy as you think. Some species of Florida bats hang out in Spanish moss, others in old dead trees or palm fronds (dead cabbage palms are a favorite place to roost). But as scary as that sounds, bats bring “boo-tiful” benefits to Sarasota and Manatee counties that we thought we’d share during National Bat Week.
First of all, did you know that bats account for 25% of all mammal species? Of the some 1,300 types that inhabit Earth, half are endangered. And that really bites because bats are considered a “keystone species” — meaning that all animals and plants on our planet would suffer without their presence. They balance our ecosystem big time.
Now on to Florida bats. Only 18 species are considered to be permanent residents here, but the infamous vampire bat isn’t one of them. So relax. These thirsty guys are only found in South and Central Americas and Mexico. Plus, they only suck blood from cows, chickens and other farm animals — not humans.
Why do landscape companies like ArtisTree have a warm affection for bats? Because they’re natural pest controllers, devouring millions of flying insects each night they venture out. They can’t help but eat mammoth amounts of mosquitoes because echo-location abilities and predatory desires are in their blood. (It helps that they have strong hearts that beat at more than 1,000 beats a minute while soaring up to 3,000 feet at 50 mph.)
Bats have served humanity well for more than 52 million years (and can live as long as 20 years), so give them the respect they deserve. If this post leaves you screaming for more bat info, here are two good sites: Friends of Bats and Florida Bats.