When you think about Halloween decorations, bats probably come to mind – dark, flying creatures hanging from the ceiling or more friendly-looking cut outs taped up to walls. But when it comes to the real-life animal, the reality is not so fun.
More than half of the bat species in the United States are in severe decline or listed as an endangered species. The major threats to bats are a loss of their natural habitats, reduced food supplies, the destruction of their roosts, and through disease and hunting that kills off populations.
Bats play a major role in their ecosystems. There are more than 1,300 species of bats worldwide, making up a quarter of the world’s mammals. Insect-eating bats help to control disease-carrying and crop-harming insects, which helps reduce losses for farmers. Fruit-eating bats can spread seeds as they fly and digest food, which can help revive deforested lands. Nectar-feeding bats act as pollinators to many valuable plant species, including bananas, balsa wood, mangoes, agave and cashews.
Since bats are so important to our environment, it’s important to engage in conservation efforts. Starting October 24th, Bat Week is an international, annual celebration that is designed to educate the public about bats and raise awareness about the need for bat conservation.
There are great resources on the Bat Week website such as an activity booklet for young learners to learn about cave ecosystems and national parks, a fact sheet that breaks down the myths and truths about bats, and even a cookbook that contains recipes inspired by bat-dependent foods. All of these resources are free and available for you to educate yourself and others about all things bats.
You may also be inspired to take action and do what you can to support bat conservation efforts. You can build a bat house at your home or in your neighborhood, take a bat walk with a bat expert in your community, or even organize a bat club to expand your reach in supporting bats.
Be sure to join us at the Crestwood Library during Bat Week for some great programs. On October 25th at 7:00PM, be sure to bring your little ones for Owls, Cats & Bats Pajama Storytime. Wear your pajamas or a costume and bring a stuffed animal friend for bedtime stories and songs! No registration is needed. This program is best for children ages 2-7.
You can also join us on Zoom for “The New Sustainable You! Bats, Birds, Ants, Praying Mantises and More!” on October 26th at 1:00PM. This program will highlight many creatures who bring beauty to our world and play a key role in the environment.
Still looking for more? Check out some of these books from the library!
Alison Robles is a part-time clerk at the Crestwood Library. She is an avid reader with a passion for fantasy, history and science fiction. A Yonkers native, she graduated from Iona University in 2020 with a dual-degree in Marketing and Public Relations.
The Bat Week Logo is used from the official Bat Week website at batweek.org