Bats may elicit images of Batman, vampires, or even as rats with wings, which could be attributed to their penchant of harboring or spreading deadly disease (such as SARS, Ebola, or at times, rabies. Interestingly, this may be a result of their resilient immune systems) and their massive amounts of poo (known as guano, which are basically large accumulates of feces that can erode caves!). Despite those unsightly characteristics, they still have great importance to our environment’s well being.
California itself is home to 25 bat species, 7 of which are common in the Central Valley: Mexican free-tailed bat, big brown bat, pallid bat, California myotis, Yuma myotis, western red bat and the hoary bat. Most of these bats are insectivores, while some others (not in the Central Valley) eat cacti fruit. As insectivores, bats can eat equal or more than their body weight’s worth of insects, with a colony of 150 bats consuming a million insects annually. This article provides more information about the Central Valley bats, and ways to provide them with housing as a way to benefit farmers. Bats with their huge insect appetite also take care of insects such as mosquitoes (undoubtedly the most annoying and deadly creature on Earth) and creepier things like scorpions.
Summer Bat Walks
Apparently, there are events known as Summer Bat Walks organized by the Sea and Sage Audubon Society in Irvine, CA. The main attraction is observing the bats at night eating insects (one must bring insect repellant and insect proof clothes!). Obviously, 2020’s bat walks were canceled, though they will (hopefully) have a 2021 bat walk. Just don’t get too friendly; interacting with bats can risk you getting infected with rabies, with 6 bats in Fresno testing positive.