International Bat Appreciation Day on April 17 is a chance to show our flying and mostly nocturnal friends some love. As well as it obviously being a great excuse to binge a few Batman movies, it’s also an opportunity to delve deep and learn the important role bats play in the ecosystem and biodiversity. There are over 1,400 different bat species and contrary to popular opinion they aren’t blind. So, without further adieu, let’s creep a little deeper into the cave and take a closer look at International Bat Appreciation Day and everything these flying mammals have to offer.
History of International Bat Appreciation Day
Bat Conservation International (BCI) was founded in 1982 by a group of concerned scientists who recognized the importance of protecting bats. Bats contribute towards controlling pests, create rich fertilizer for landowners, and pollinate fruit and flowers. BCI aims to conserve bats and their habitats through a combination of education, conservation, and research.
Human activities such as deforestation, mining, and irresponsible tourism have caused a substantial decrease in the bats’ population. Bats have often been understudied and misunderstood animals. They are often perceived as disease spreaders when in reality they help keep the numbers of many pests down.
Between 2014 and 2018 the BCI identified 35 critically endangered species of bat that it became a priority to protect. These species are spread throughout the world including the U.S, South America, and The Philippines.
To help their cause and increase awareness on all that bats do for the environment, the BCI introduced International Bat Appreciation Day to our calendars. So now you know, bats have an important role to play and we should be grateful for their presence.
International Bat Appreciation Day timeline
- May 2013
The BCI collects more than 13,000 signatures in support of the Bracken Cave Preserve.
BCI is born
Bat Conservation International, the leading organization for the protection of bats, is created
The largest discovery
German naturalist Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz is the first to document the largest bat in the world, the giant golden-crowned flying fox
- 52.5 million years ago
The oldest confirmed species of bat, Onychonycteris, is believed to have lived in the Eocene period.
International Bat Appreciation Day FAQs
Why is International Bat Appreciation Day Important?
It is important because we can learn all about the roles bats play within ecosystems and begin to protect and care for them.
How many bat species are in the United States?
More than 40 species of bats live in the United States.
When is International Bat Appreciation Day?
International Bat Appreciation Day Activities
Learn a little.
Read about them or watch a nature documentary. Whatever your preferred medium, dedicate some time to exploring the role bats play within our complex ecosystem.
Donate to the BCI
Bat Conservation International is working hard to protect endangered species and to ensure the proper upkeep and conservation of the bats’ habitats. Donate either time or money to the cause.
It’s definitely a more abstract way of celebrating bats but it counts nonetheless. Maybe watch with a friend and occasionally pause the movie to read out some bat-related trivia.
5 Facts About Bats
A varied diet
Depending on the species, bats eat a variety of things: fruit, nectar, insects and, even blood.
A single brown bat can eat around 1,200 mosquitoes in one hour
They have fast metabolisms
Bats can digest mangoes and other large food in about 20 minutes.
Vampire bats don’t suck blood
They open up a wound and lick the blood instead.
There are more than 1400 species of bat
That’s about a quarter of all total mammal species!
Why We Love International Bat Appreciation Day
It creates awareness
Bats face a diverse array of threats. Human hunting, deforestation, destruction of their habitats, and much more, putting many of these unique species on the brink of extinction. It is important to know how to conserve these wonderful creatures.
While many see bats as blood-sucking, disease-ridden pests, the truth of the matter is that bats play an important role within the ecosystem, especially with pollination and the reduction of harmful insects.
A keystone species
Bats are considered “keystone species” that are essential to the ecosystem. Without bats’ pollination and seed-dispersing services, local ecosystems could gradually collapse, and entire zones would not be as rich in flora and fauna as they are right now.
International Bat Appreciation Day dates