We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
4121 Rib Mountain Dr
Wausau, WI 54401
Phone: (715) 298-3140
Email: Send Message
Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Bats are vital to controlling insect pests:
In the U.S. and around the world, bats are natural enemies of night-flying insects.
The 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats from Bracken Cave, Texas, eat approximately 200 tons of insects nightly.
If we lose our bat species, we increase the demand for chemical pesticides, jeopardizing whole ecosystems of other animal and plant species, and harming human economies.
Bats pollinate plants and disperse seeds:
More than 300 plant species in the Old World tropics alone rely on the pollinating and seed dispersal services of bats, and additional bat-plant relationships are constantly being discovered.
These bat-reliant plants provide more than 450 economically important products, valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Tropical 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.
Tequila is produced from agave plants whose seed production drops to 1/3,000th of normal without bat pollinators.
Desert ecosystems rely on nectar-feeding bats as primary pollinators of giant cacti, including the famous organ pipe and saguaro of Arizona.
What is the truth about bats and rabies?
Like most mammals, bats can contract rabies; however less than one-half of one percent of bats ever get the disease, and those that do normally bite only in self-defense and pose little threat to people who do not handle them. (This is the number one reason to enforce the “look but don’t touch” rule!)
During the past 50 years, only 48 U.S. residents are believed to have contracted rabies from bats, making it one of the rarest diseases in America. (In comparison, during 2001 alone - the last available statistics - 368 people contracted typhoid fever, 1,544 people contracted malaria, and 15,989 people contracted tuberculosis!)
The fear of rabies is far disproportionate to the actual risk. To put the risk in perspective: 20 Americans die every year from dog attacks, yet we would never consider massive media scare campaigns suggesting that we eradicate our canine friends.
Fun bat trivia to share with friends at parties!
Bats are mammals, not birds. They are the only mammal that can truly fly.
There are an estimated 1,100 species of bats worldwide. This accounts for 20% of all mammal species.
There are only 3 species of vampire bats, all of which occur in the New World tropics.
Bats are not flying mice; they are not even remotely related to rodents. Bats are such unique animals that scientists have placed them in a group all their own, called 'Chiroptera’, which means hand-wing. This refers to the fact that the bones that support the wing are modified finger bones.
Bats have very low reproductive rates - usually giving birth to only 1 offspring a year. For this reason, it is hard for bat populations to make a quick comeback if there are large colony deaths.
Contrary to popular myths, bats are not blind and do not become entangled in human hair.
Bats are not dirty. Like cats, bats spend an enormous amount of time grooming their fur, keeping it soft and silky.
Bat droppings (guano) in caves support whole ecosystems of unique organisms, and are a popular garden fertilizer.
In parts of the southwest U.S., some nectar-loving bats may visit hummingbird feeders at night!
An anticoagulant from vampire bat saliva may soon be used to treat human heart patients.
There are several different species of bats that can occur in Wisconsin.
Little Brown Bats and Big Brown Bats are the bats that are usually found inside buildings in our area. These are also the two species that will make use of a bat house, locally.