Aug 13

Do You Have Bats in Your Belfry?

PikiWiki_Israel_11327_Wildlife_and_Plants_of_Israel-Bat-003Bat_Roost_San_Antonio_TexasWhen people think of bats, they often conjure up images of something evil, a terrifying flying creature to be feared, the thing of myths and legends.

THEIR ROLE IN ECOLOGY: In reality, in many cultures or locals, the bat is a boon to the farmer. Often, bats are the primary nocturnal insectivores in some ecologies, as each night they consume one-third of their body weight in aerial and ground-dwelling insects. Each bat can consume several hundred insects in a few hours. This reduces the need for pesticides around crops and gardens.

Bats are present throughout most of the world, also performing vital ecological roles of pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds.

ARTIFICIAL ROOSTS: Often, people work to attract bats by creating an inviting environment. Bat houses attract bats just as birdhouses attract birds. Bat houses can be made from scratch or bought ready-made. Plans for bat houses even exist on many web sites, as well as guidelines for designing a bat house.

HOW THEY GET AROUND IN THE DARK: Bats use echolocation to get around in the dark. They emit a continuous call and separate pulse and echo in frequency. Their ears are sharply tuned to a specific frequency range. They emit calls outside of this range to avoid self-deafening. Bats use echolocation to locate and catch their prey. When the sound waves produced by these sounds hit an insect or other animal, the echoes bounce back to the bat, and guide them to the source. Modern day radar and sonar was developed by studying how bats maneuver and using the same principles of echolocation.

BATS ARE MAMMALS: Their forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. Other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, can only glide for short distances. Females generally have one offspring at a time and nurse their young until they are nearly adult size, because a young bat cannot forage on its own until its wings are fully developed.

AUTHOR CORNER: What can a writer learn from the bat? She begins to write a mystery book. She sends out a signal−how to get the protagonist from point A, the story beginning to point B−to bring down the bad guy? She takes the protagonist on a twisting, turning journey, following the echoes, negotiating the obstacles. If her signal is clear and she focuses on the echoes, she will reach a satisfying conclusion. Lose sight of the echo and her story gets lost along the way. Hey! How profound is that?

EVERYBODY ELSE: In a like manner, we relate to other people by sending out a signal. Good or bad, what is returned from others is the echo of our signal. Ask a question? Get an answer. Smile at a stranger? Usually you get one back. Be a friend and your friendships will flourish. Deceive or lie and in most cases, it comes back to bite you. Appreciate the bats. They pollinate flowers and catch insects. But be careful. Just of few of them may bite you on a dark night.

4 Responses for "Do You Have Bats in Your Belfry?"

  1. Marja McGraw says:

    Another very entertaining post. When we lived in No. Nevada (along a river) bats came out every night at dusk. I really didn't mind because they kept the mosquito population down. One came out during the day once, and like they say, he was "blind as a bat". He flew into our sliding screen door. I took his picture and carried him down to the river's edge until he pulled himself together and left. (I'm not that brave. I picked him up with a dust pan.)

    • Elaine Faber says:

      EEUUU! Don't think I'd wnt to touch it either. After reading about bats, I have a new appreciation, but they are so ugly, I wouldn't want to touch one. Poor things. Faces only a mother could love.

  2. Sandra Trezise says:

    The analogy for writers is on target. Never thought of writing like a bat, but it fits. Again, love the author and regular people sections and how you connect them with the subject you are writing about.

  3. Eileen Obser says:

    I can honestly say I've never seen a bat, Elaine. Nor do I look forward to it. But I love how you give all this information and tie it into your sections on author and "everybody else." Very interesting blog.

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