Beach's Kind Kids Club
APRIL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
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 youd like to know more about
bats, view our section on bats by clicking here.