The GABI bat event was a success. Marian Snively from Alaska Fish and Game wowed a crowd of all ages with interesting bat facts, Alaskan bat stories, bat props, and bat slides. No one yawned or took suspiciously long bathroom breaks. After the presentation bat enthusiasts mingled, took hostel tours and sipped beverages provided by the hostel. GABI appreciates the services provided by Alaska Fish and Game to help protect Girdwood’s wildlife. You can help Alaska Fish and Game protect the bats by joining the Alaska Bat Club. The only regret was that after Marian spoke, the floor was not opened up for bat poetry. If you have a bat poem send it to this link.
Here are some interesting facts about bats and agriculture that I learned at the presentation:
- A single little brown bat can catch more than 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour. (GABI will be building bat boxes)
- A colony of 150 big brown bats can protect farmers from up to 33 million rootworms each summer.
- The 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats from Bracken Cave in Texas eat approximately 200 tons of insects nightly.
- Bats are key elements in rain-forest ecosystems, which rely on them to pollinate flowers and disperse seeds for countless trees and shrubs.
- In the wild, important agricultural plants – from bananas, breadfruit, and mangoes to cashews, dates and figs – rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal.
- Desert ecosystems rely on nectar – feeding bats as primary pollinators of giant cacti, including the famous organ pipe and saguaro of Arizona.
- Tequila is produced from agave plants that rely on bats as their primary pollinators.
- Bat droppings in caves support whole ecosystems of unique organisms, including bacteria useful in detoxifying wastes.
- More than 50 percent of American bat species are endangered or declining sufficiently to warrant special concern. Losses are occurring at alarming rates worldwide.
- Loss of bats increases demand for chemical pesticides, can jeopardize whole ecosystems of other animal and plant species and can harm human economies.
For more interesting bat facts check out Bat Conservation International.