Originally written on August 28, 2021. Updated 2023
Bats have many places in literature and history, and serve roles dark but not only, depending on where you find them.
Probably their most common association is with vampires, but there is also the fun-loving bat from Ferngully (Batty Coda) along with a host of other characters from literature and cinema.
However, “real” bats have an important role to play in our eco-system, and some of them are becoming endangered.
International Bat Night encourages us to learn more about this mostly nocturnal creature, and It takes place each year during last full weekend of August.
It started in 1997 and thirty countries celebrate the event to inform the public about the needs and benefits of bats in nature.
Every year these creatures are celebrated with a number of different events taking place around the world for the public to get involved with, that give you the opportunity to help bat conservation and to learn more about them.
Bats are incredible creatures.
After all, they are the only mammals that can fly!
But, despite what movies and novels might say, they play an important part in keeping balance in nature, and among other things they consume insects that spread disease and damage crops.
Interestingly, in the United States, little brown bats common in Kansas, use their echolocation to eat over 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour!
But they also help distribute plants by passing seeds through their feces: the spread of Guano seeds through bats is the main factor for tropical rainforest reforestation.
Bats have gotten a bit of a bad reputation over the years. However, most of this is unjustified.
A lot of people think that bats, especially those in North America, go around infecting people with rabies and a whole host of other toxins and diseases.
This is something that has merely become a rumor because of the television and movies because actually bats avoid people, and only 10 in the last 50 years have contracted rabies from North American bats.
Vampire bats also don’t suck blood, contrary to popular belief. Well, they do lap it up, but calm down!
Only three of the thousand-plus species are actually bloodsuckers. Vampire bats are found in the tropics of Mexico, Central and South America, generally consume the blood of sleeping cattle or horses. But, with their sharp teeth, a quick nip usually goes unnoticed by the sleeping animals.
Yet even vampire bats have proved to be a benefit, as doctors have studied the anticoagulant qualities of their bites and have used that knowledge in developing medication for heart disease and stroke patients.
Long associated with all things dark and creepy, bats are actually a friend of man, and these are just the beginnings of the wonders that bats possess. International Bat Night is a great time to spend learning about them!
How to celebrate?
With over 1,200 species of bats, there is plenty to celebrate!
One of the best ways to spend International Bat Night is by enjoying the quiet of night and watching the skies in your nearest bat habitat, like a night out in the woods, or just sitting on your front porch if you’re fortunate enough.
Check with your local zoo or the biology department at your area college or university to find out if Bat Night is being observed in your community.
We also recommend spending a bit of time online, reading up about bats, and finding out more about them.
Another way to celebrate International Bat Night is by watching a Batman movie. If you are a fan of superhero movies, this is definitely one of the best ways to celebrate this date. There are a lot of other films too, including vampire-based movies.
So, get the popcorn out and enjoy yourself!
Images from web – Google Research