Bats Up Close
Seeing hundreds of bats flapping across the nighttime sky can be a thrilling experience. If you’re interested in observing bats in your area, you need to know where and when to look. City and state parks in your area are excellent places to start. Bug-eating bats go where the insects are -- near lakes, ponds, rivers, and other bodies of water. The sky over open water is also not cluttered with trees and other distractions. Timing is key. Many bat species emerge at dusk and feed for a few hours before resting again. The right weather is also important. If it’s too cold, windy, or rainy out, bats will usually not go hunting. If you’re serious about bat watching, check if your family can join a local “bat club” in your area. Bat enthusiasts of all ages enjoy getting together to watch and talk about these marvelous mammals.
At the Zoo
A great place to see bats face-to-face is at your local zoo. Contact
zoos in your area to find out which have bat exhibits. Visit such
an exhibit, and take notes on all the things that zookeepers do
to try to make bats feel at home. How is the daytime lighting
adjusted? What kinds of food are made available to the bats that
live there? Do bats eat the same diet in the zoo as they do in
the wild? Do the zookeepers help the bats raise their young? If
possible, schedule an interview with the person who cares for
the bats. You could write up your experience in an article for
a local newspaper. Use what you learn to educate others about
There are many myths and misconceptions about bats. You may have heard the expression “blind as a bat.” In truth, bats can see better than humans at night -- even though they can’t see color. Despite what some people think, bats are not attracted to hair and they’re not out to suck your blood. Research bat myths, then create a picture book to share with younger students that sets the record straight and shares some fascinating facts about these clever creatures. Use images and facts from the Science Explorations Bat Library to create your book. At the end, describe some of the ways that bats help people survive. You might talk about how bats eat agricultural pests and help pollinate flowers.
Found: A Bat
Bats can carry dangerous diseases, so it’s important that you never handle a bat by yourself. But if you happen to find a bat in your home, or stranded on the ground, you can come to the bat’s rescue. Contact the Local Bat Rescue organization or animal control in your area.
Someone trained in bat rescue methods will hopefully be able to move the bat to a safe location.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 13 bat species
are endangered. Some bats are in trouble because of people setting
fires in their caves out of fear. Start a bat club in your school or community as a way to educate
others about these amazing animals. You might help raise money
for organizations such as Bat
Conservation International, the Lubee
Bat Conservatory, or even participate in the Adopt-a-Bat