Utah Bats are Your Friend
The Southern Utah summer means bats and though some might get the “ick” from these furry creatures, they’re an important part of the local ecosystem.
When most people think of bats ideas of Halloween, horror movies and vampires tend to pop up. However, bats are one of the most “misunderstood and important animals”, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website said. Though most people might see them as pests they actually play a huge role in helping with actual pests. They also act as pollinators, so they do a huge favor to local farmers.
In Utah, there are 18 types of bats, many of which are located in the Southern part of the state, the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources said. Most of those bats eat insects, like the gross invading grasshoppers and creepy spiders!
To educate the public on these creatures, the DWR is hosting a bat viewing event on July 13 from 7:30-10 p.m. at the DWR Springville Office.
"Bats are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem," DWR Central Region Outreach Manager Scott Root said. "They are often misunderstood, and sometimes feared, when they don't need to be. We are excited to provide more information about these unique animals and hopefully the chance to see them up close at our upcoming event."
However, for Southern Utahns, all you really need to do to see bats in the wild is step outside during dusk anywhere near a cave and especially if there is a body of water nearby. Utah bats will either migrate/hibernate during the winter months but there are some that are active year-round, Wild Aware Utah said.
Before you turn away in disgust at these little guys remember that bats are GREAT pest control. These flying mammals (the only flying mammal) could save more than $1 billion a year in crop damage and pesticides in just the corn industry, the USFWS said.
So, in the coming months, be kind to these little guys if you see them around.
Here are some tips from the USFWS:
- Dim or turn off those lights when you can. Light pollution is bad for the little guys and can disturb their flights.
- Make your home as natural as possible. If there is a safe place to leave a few dead leaves, those can be used for roosting. Gardens are also fantastic to feed bats since they attract insects. However, pesticide protected gardens are a no.
- Put in a bat box to give the creatures a home.
- Remove bats found in unwanted spaces humanely. Call a professional if you have to.
- Don’t purposely disturb bat nests in caves or other areas where they can be found.