Bats are Beneficial!
Many bats consume vast amounts of insects, including some of the most damaging
agricultural pests. Others pollinate important plants, ensuring the
production of fruits that support local economies and diverse animal
populations. Fruit-eating bats in the tropics disperse seeds that are
critical to restoring cleared or damaged rainforests. Even bat droppings
(called guano) are valuable as a rich natural fertilizer. Bats are
vital to the conservation of the natural world.
Bats are primary predators of night-flying insects, and many very damaging
pests are on their menu. Pregnant or nursing mothers of some species will
consume their body weight in insects each night. A single little brown bat
can eat more than 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour.
From deserts to rainforests, nectar-feeding bats are critical pollinators
for a wide variety of plants of great economic and ecological value. In
North American deserts, giant cacti and agave depend on bats for
pollination. This process also improves the genetic diversity of
cross-pollinated plants. Bats that drink the sweet nectar inside flowers
pick up a dusting of pollen and move it along to other flowers as they feed.
A few of the commercial products that depend on bat pollinators include:
bananas, avocados, dates, figs, peaches, mangoes, cloves, cashews, carob and
expanses of the world's rainforests are cleared every year for logging,
agriculture, ranching and other uses. And fruit-eating bats are key players
in restoring those vital forests. Bats are so effective at dispersing seeds that they've been called the "farmers of the
While birds are wary of crossing large, open spaces where flying
predators can attack and typically drop seeds directly beneath their
perches, night-foraging fruit bats, often cover large
distances each night, are quite willing to cross clearings and typically
defecate in flight, scattering far more seeds than birds across cleared