Although bats are a major part of any Halloween décor or celebration, most are greatly misunderstood. As a result Rick Jacobsen, Director of feels that now the perfect time set the record straight and is leading a campaign to improve their image.
“Halloween is good time to dispel myths about bats. Rather than harbingers of doom, they are a key part of healthy ecosystems and provide tremendous economic benefits to agriculture and forestry through their insect control abilities.”
“Learning more about bats and the important role they play in healthy ecosystems would be a great Halloween “treat” for this beleaguered group of animals,” adds biologist Jenny Dickson, with DEEP’s Wildlife Division.
- Bats are not flying mice. They are the only mammal capable of true flight and are more closely related to primates (and people) than to rodents.
- Bats do not get caught in people’s hair. They are adept fliers and rely on sensitive sonar (echolocation) to navigate night skies. Bats that swoop near people are after insects like mosquitoes.
- Bats are not blind. They have good eyesight, but rely on echolocation to master night flight.
- Bats are not filthy or covered with parasites. Clean wings are essential for executing intricate flight patterns, so bats spend great amounts of time grooming themselves.
Three species of bats are known as vampire bats. They are found only in Latin America and are a parasite of birds and cattle.
And while there are more than a 1,000 different kids if bats, Connecticut is home to only 8 species, including the little brown bat, big brown bat, northern long-eared bat and tri-colored bat, many of which have been devastated by a disease known as white-nose syndrome and the state DEEP has been actively working to monitor hibernating bats for signs of WNS, as well as tracking summer maternity colonies closely to see if WNS is having an impact on their ability to breed.
As cooler weather approaches and bats settle in to hibernate, the DEEP encourages Connecticut residents to help in monitoring white-nose syndrome here at home. Report bats found outdoors from mid-November through mid-March. While the characteristic white fuzzy fungal growth may not be readily visible on a bat’s nose,
Sighting details, including the date, location, what you observed, and digital photos if possible, may be submitted to the DEEP Wildlife Division at [email protected] or by calling the Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods (860-675-8130) or Hartford offices (860-424-3011).