The state of Missouri is home to 14 different types of bats. These amazing flying mammals can often be seen at dusk darting around eating those pesky insects in the summer months. Since the Show Me State has the second largest amount of caves in the United States, it is no wonder that these marvelous creatures call Missouri home.
Bats in general have gotten a bad rap due to the myths surrounding them due to popular books and movies. This disinformation has caused many people to fear these fascinating animals. The truth is, bats are an important part of the food chain in nature. For instance, all of the bats that are native to Missouri feed only on flying insects. By selectively feeding on only flying insects, they help to keep the insect population in check. So, instead of thinking of bats as a nuisance, look at them as nature’s bug zapper and their role in the food chain become quite clear.
Since the bats feed only on flying insects, the maneuvers that they perform in mid air are quite a spectacle to watch. Bats begin this feeding frenzy on insects by capturing the insects in their mouths. The bats use their leathery wings or tail membranes to scoop them out of the air. The bat then reaches down mid flight to pop the insect in their mouth. This is the reason why many people enjoy watching these flying acrobats in the evening hours as they perform spectacular dance.
Many of us have heard the saying “blind as a bat”. Even though bats may appear to not have very good eyesight, they actually can visually detect small insects flying around them. Bats also rely on echolocation to hunt flying bugs. Echolocation works as a form of sonar. The bat will emit high frequency pulses that bounce off their prey in order to locate them.
Watching bats can be a fun activity while sitting outside in the evening hours during the summer months. Bats can often be seen swooping around streetlights feeding on all those pesky summertime bugs. Even though watching bats at safe distance is fine, it is not all right to explore caves that the bats use to roost in during the daytime. This cannot only be dangerous for humans; it can also be dangerous for the bats. Like any other type of wildlife, the presence of humans can disrupt breeding, nesting and hibernation patterns.
Missouri bats are a vital to the ecosystem. They help to control many of the nocturnal insects that are native to Missouri. Farmers are fans of bats because they eat many of the bugs that can be detrimental to cops such as corn and wheat. The mosquito for instance can become a huge problem for many people in the summer months. It is hard to step outside in the evening without getting bitten by these blood-sucking insects. Bats love to feast on mosquitoes and help to keep these pesky bugs at bay.
Before bats were feared by many people, but through education that is starting to change. The Missouri bat population is an important part of the food chain not only to other animals, but also to humans. So instead of fearing them or looking at them in disgust, just think of them of nature’s little bug zapper in the summer months.