Halloween is almost here. We can notice how shops and homes are setting up to celebrate the spooky holiday. I really enjoy how people make the best of their creative side, building all kinds of costumes and frightening decorations.
Chocolate and candy manufacturers promote special Halloween edition sweets; people in the streets search for the latest Halloween costume trends and the neighborhoods begin to feel kinda haunted. It is really exciting.
Nonetheless this year, we all can do a lot more than just celebrate Halloween with scary costumes, spooks, sweets and candy. This year we can pay real tribute to the holiday by honoring one of its lead characters… bats!
Colorado is home and shelter of 18 different Bat species, and believe it or not –instead of that scary, creepy creature, horror movies like to exploit, bats provide a lot of benefits for humans and the environment.
Therefore, the U.S. will be celebrating the National Bat week, which kicked off, October 25th. The celebration intends to raise people’s awareness of the condition of bats in Colorado and support their protection.
Bats live nearly in every National Park. Bats eat mosquitos and other insects that can affect people, and they devour pests that devastate food and crops. A colony of bats can eat hundreds of thousands of insects each hour.
These flying mammals also provide big helping hand in reforestation, spreading seeds of flowers and plants. Bats are some of the hardest working mammals in national parks. They are also important to the cave environment they roost in, bringing energy into these mostly closed systems in the form of their guano.
Environmental and State park agencies, such as Colorado Parks and Wildlife have been working and monitoring bat populations statewide as part of a nationwide effort to detect changes from threats like White-nose Syndrome (WNS) and wind energy development.
WNS, which is caused by a fungus known as Pseudogymnoascus destructans, is responsible for large scale bat die-offs in the Eastern United States, in some cases killing 100% of the bats in a site. WNS is named for the white powder seen on the nose, ears, and wings of infected bats.
Since WNS, was first documented near Albany in a New York cave in 2007, it has spread to 26 states and 5 Canadian provinces. Scientists are researching the disease to find ways to limit its impacts, but like so many wildlife diseases, there likely isn’t a cure for WNS. It’s also unknown how to keep bats from transmitting it.
You can honor and help protect these spooky fellows, by reporting to Colorado Parks and Wildlife the sighting of any active or dead bats.