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Gerritsen Beach's Kind Kids Club

APRIL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

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GERRITSEN BEACH KIND KIDS
ARE BATTY ABOUT BATS

     The April meeting was all about bats.  We started the meeting by discussing how bats have been persecuted terribly by humans because of myth, superstition and ignorance.  Then we tested the kids’ "Bat I.Qs."  They already knew a lot about these gentle creatures.  They knew that bats were beneficial to people and the environment.   For example, a single little brown bat can catch more than 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour.  A colony of 150 large brown bats can eat up to 33 million rootworms each summer – a big help to farmers.  Tropical bats are instrumental in pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds in the rain forests.  Saliva from vampire bats may soon be used to treat human heart patients.

     Contrary to popular belief, bats are not blind, do not become entangled in human hair and seldom transmit disease to other animals or humans.  Fewer than one-half of one percent of bats contract rabies and these typically bite only in self-defense.  Bats pose little threat if people do not try to handle them.  Bats are not dirty flying mice as some people believe.  They are very clean and groom themselves like cats.  They are the only mammal that can fly and are more closely related to people and primates than they are to mice.

     We watched a video that was produced by Bat Conservation International.   Sadly we learned that many bats are in big trouble.  They are exceptionally vulnerable to extinction, partly because they are the slowest reproducing mammal on earth for their size.  More than half of American bat species are in severe decline or are already listed as endangered.

     After the video, the kids decorated bat masks and posed for pictures.  If you’d like to know more about bats, view our section on bats by clicking here.

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