Gone Batty: Bat Week breaks negative stereotypes

Community Reports

ALBUQUERQUE N.M (KRQE) – This Halloween, KRQE News 13 is exploring the softer side of one of nature’s spookiest creatures, bats. It’s all in honor of International Bat Week.

It is really about education and celebration of bats, so not just what they do for us but how amazing they are as part of the diversity on the planet.

Justin Stevenson, RD Wildlife Management

When you think about bats you may think Dracula or maybe Batman, but for International Bat Week, local conservationists are trying to send a different message. They want both New Mexicans and people all over the world to know just how critical bats are to the ecosystem.

Bats act as pollinators, helping plants like agave and sugar cane for tequila and rum production, thrive. They also get rid of New Mexico’s creepiest crawlers.

Pallid bats eat scorpions and centipedes and that seems to be something everyone can get behind!

Justin Stevenson, RD Wildlife Management

During bat season, which runs roughly from May to late October, the night sky here in central New Mexico is filled with Mexican Free-Tailed Bats, Big and Little Brown Bats, and perhaps the most charismatic of all, Pallid Bats.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bats are the fastest bats in the world, flying as fast as 60 miles and hour. They’re very common in the north valley and Corrales. Big and Little Brown Bats are actually two separate species but look like larger and smaller versions of each other. Pallid Bats have ears larger than their heads, giving them a coyote look, and giving their species a hand in defeating the scary bat stereotype.

Conservationists we spoke with say they’re using bat week to educate the public on the benefits of having bats in your garden. They say Pallid Bats, in particular, eat tomato worms “like popcorn” which makes gardening easier. They suggest putting up a bat box on a tall tree or the side of your house to help protect your crops and flowers from pests.

So if anyone’s ever tried to grow tomato plants and had horn worms decimate their plants, this bat actually loves to eat the moth that’s part of the life cycle and they eat them like popcorn.

Justin Stevenson, RD Wildlife Management

Bat season is now winding down with colder temperatures, and the critters will soon take up roost in the Sandia Mountains to hibernate, but come summer they’ll be back, and you won’t have to travel very far to see them. Specialists at RD Wildlife Rescue say the best place to catch the nightly bat migration in the summer is just off Central by the Albuquerque Bio Park.

You can also learn more about bats this Saturday, November 2 at the Servilleta Wildlife Refuge Fall Family Day.

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