Knowing Bats

KnownAboutBats700Though bats have been around us forever, they are not well known, even among scientists. It is not unusual, for example, for a naturalist or scientist describing a natural area to include just about everything except bats.

This is understandable. How do you connect with an animal you rarely see because it only comes out at night? Especially a small animal that is unpredictable in where it might be because it can fly.

Yet, that is a problem. Bats are important parts of the natural world and an integral part of the web of life for any ecosystem. They are key predators of insects. Many bats have suffered population losses, making them endangered, yet there often isn’t enough baseline information on their past population to get official recognition of their plight.

And they simply are a critical part of nature during a large part of the day, a part of the natural day we are not naturally adjusted to. People occupy the night only when they can create their own “daylight” through artificial light.

We can look at this as a series of diminishing circles as seen above. The biggest circle is everything that might be known about bats. The next circle is much smaller and represents what scientists have learned about bats. Then there is an even smaller circle, representing what the public might know about bats. Plus there is a circle outside the main circles representing information that people think they know about bats, but is misinformation that is outside of the true facts about bats.