Yes, April 17 marks the 10th National Bat Appreciation Day. Since Austin is home to the largest metropolitan colony of bats in the world, we figured this is a good day to let fly some fun facts and resources for all you bat lovers. (Bonus: This year, it falls on a Friday. Woot!)
1. Smiley Bat is a website dedicated to all things bat. You can even learn how to make an emoticon that looks like a bat, because your life isn’t quite complete without it.
2. A single bat eats thousands of insects every night! When you consider the wet winter and spring we’ve enjoyed, imagine all the mosquitoes buzzing around your lawn and garden this spring. Want a carefree solution to the problem — without pesticides? Buy or build a bat house. This one holds 250 bats in one small space.
3. White Nose Syndrome is a disease which is carried from bat to bat, and causes bats to come out of hibernation too early. Bats seen flying around in winter months usually die from the cold. Over five million bats since were affected since the disease was discovered in 2006. You can keep up to date with this and other bat news on the Batcon Facebook Page.
4. Bat guano was once commonly used to make gunpowder (any coincidence bats are loved in Texas?) and is still used for fertilizer. Good stuff, that bat guano.
5. Bat Conservation International, based in Austin, publishes a stunningly beautiful online magazine called Bats. Issue 35 includes an interesting article on the relationship between bats and the Ebola virus in Africa.
6. All 750 thousand Mexican Freetail Bats that find their way back to Congress Street bridge are pregnant females. They will each give birth to one pup, bringing the total to 1.5 million by summer’s end.
8. The originator of National Bat Appreciation Day, and passionate bat friend can be found on Twitter at
@zanzaboonda She writes, “They are wonderful creatures and in great danger, especially because of WNS. Thank you for writing a post about it! wllw”
6. Bat Magazine