Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Silly superstitions about bats should have faded long ago
They’re cute, innocent mammals that
weigh about half-an-ounce, but eat lots and lots of mosquitoes – they don’t get
in your hair, suck your blood and they have less chance of having rabies than
your pet dog. Superstitions like that are just plain silly and outdated. Most
were created by Hollywood!
Bats are about to return from
wintering in Central America. The bats in north Texas, mostly Mexican free-tail
Bats, cleanse the nights of tons of pesky flying bugs, while avoiding humans as much
as possible. A colony of bats
is an environmentally-safe replacement for a lot of malathion and a lot of
average bat will eat up to 5000 flying pests each and every night. In terms we
can all understand, that’s like a 60 lb. child eating 126 peanut butter & jelly
sandwiches every day. Sadly, bat populations have fallen
for several reasons. It’s a shame since nothing gets rid of flying insects as
efficiently, cheaply, quietly and safely as bats.
A silly myth concerns rabies:
actually, less than one-half of one percent of bats have rabies, admittedly a
serious disease. They are not carriers without becoming sick
themselves!If bitten, they’ll come down
with rabies; just like any other mammal. If a bat gets rabies it’ll probably
die in a few hours.
If you find a bat during the day (un-bat-like),
pick it up only with heavy gloves, and bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator.He’llbe scared andmay bite in self-defense.He may not be sick, however. He could have
been attacked by a predator, blown down in a storm, or orphaned by chemical
fogging. Or it could be a young bat learning to fly.
don’t try to get in your hair. That’s silly! They avoid humans by every means
possible. Getting tangled in anything could probably mean death.
aren’t blind. They “see” far better than humans do, using a system similar to
radar, but much, much better – to get around fine even in total darkness.
housing for a bat colony is environmentally-smart. In fact, it’s theresponsible
thing to do. Now, while they’re returning to the north Texas area looking for a
home, is the ideal time to put up a bat house. If you have any fear of putting
up a bat house because you might attract vampire bats, fear not. No vampire
bats exist (or have ever existed) on this continent (except Hollywood seems to have put them in several movies).
OWEN YOST, in addition
to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived
and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime
Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the
American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of
Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His
office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.