National Bat Appreciation Day occurs annually on April 17th. April is the best time of the year to observe bats, as they are now beginning to emerge from hibernation. National Bat Appreciation Day is also an excellent time to learn about the role bats play in nature. One important reason to celebrate bats is that they are considered to be an “insectivorous” creature because they rid our world of many bothersome insects. In one hour, a bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes.
Fun Bat Facts:
- Some species of bats can live up to 40 years.
- Bats can see in the dark and use their extreme sense of hearing.
- Bats are the only mammal naturally capable of true and sustained flight.
- There are over 1,200 known species of bats.
- The United States is home to an estimated 48 species of bats.
- Nearly 70% of bats are insectivores.
- One of the largest bats is the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox bat weighing up to 4 lbs with a wingspan of up to 5 feet, 7 inches.
- Bats are very clean animals, grooming themselves almost constantly.
- North America’s largest urban bat colony is found on the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. It is home to an estimated 1,500,000 Mexican Free-Tailed bats. This colony of bats eats approximately 10,000 to 30,000 lbs of insects each night. It is estimated 100,000 tourists visit the bridge annually to watch the bats leave the roost at twilight.
- One colony of 150 Big Brown bats can protect farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.
- Almost 40% of American bat species are in severe decline, with some already listed as endangered or threatened.
- Three U.S. states have an official state bat. Texas and Oklahoma have named the Mexican Free-Tailed bat their state bat and Virginia has dubbed the Virginia Big-Eared bat their state bat.