Nature in Danger: Bats

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From Green Right Now Reports

Vampire bats don’t actually suck your blood. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) they  “peel  back a small sliver of skin on their prey and use their long tongues to lap up the blood.” And they prey on livestock or wildlife, not humans.

I feel so much better!

The Vampire bat ranges from Mexico into South America.

The vampire bat’s taste for blood, though, is unique among bats. Its cousin bats are not nearly so spooky. Several are vegetarians, like the fruit bat, and others consume insects and bugs.

These bats play a huge role in the environment as pollinators and pest eaters.

But like so many other mammals, bats are threatened by encroachment on their habitat and loss of food sources caused by climate change and other factors.

Several types of bats face an immediate crisis. They are battling the mysterious White-nose syndrome, which has devastated populations in the Northeast U.S. and is spreading to the South and West.  This fungal disease, which appeared out of nowhere a few years ago, has been blamed for the loss of  nearly 6 million bats in North America, according to Austin-based Bat Conservation International (BCI). The illness causes the bats to awaken during their winter hibernation and leave their caves, freezing to death.

Bats affected by White-nose syndrome include Brown bats, the recovering Indiana bat and the endangered gray bat.

A vampire bat plush toy (safe for kids, really) offered by WWF.

Here are some ways you can support bats this Halloween, or anytime:

1 — Build or install a bat house in your backyard. BCl offers instructions. and information on why providing refuge for bats can help your immediate environment.

2 — Send a batty online greeting card for Halloween and many other occasions, also through Bat Conservation International.

3 — Donate to WWF on behalf of bats and receive a bat cuddly in return.

(Worried about bats and rabies? The BCI offers some reassuring information.)

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