What state is the most bat crazy? And where does Utah rank?
Bats may be creepy and scary, but they are important during Halloween season and beyond. These intelligent mammals are great pollinators and eat pesky insects
A new survey shows that Utah is not the friendliest state for bats, but it’s not the worst. With Halloween just around the corner, here is a look at these mysterious mammals that are simultaneously scary and important to the ecosystem.
Pest Gnome has published a ranking of the best and worst states for bats. Utah sits close to the middle at 29. The organization took into consideration the number of bat species in a state as well as the protective practices, public interest, responsiveness by wildlife agencies and other factors in coming up with the rankings.
Kim Hersey, mammal conservation manager with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said it is a love and hate relationship with bats because people do not understand how important they are. There are numerous ways to learn more about them. There are even bat watching parties hosted by the agency.
Bats can carry rabies, but they kill tons of insects. They fly silently and can take up roost in places like schools and homes.
“People can be pretty freaked out by bats. You know? They’re active at night. They’re so fast. And seemingly disappear during the day,” Hersey said. “And, you know, they just sort of give people the heebie jeebies. I like to think that’s changing as people learn more about what amazing and important animals they are.”
Bats live around us, but are not aggressive. They just want to eat the insects that bite us and carry on with their journey. They are also play an important roll in pollinating trees and flowers.
Here is what you should know about bats in Utah:
- The Mexican free tailed bats hang out in the millions in caves in Texas. They summer in Utah and move around. You will often find them in old concrete buildings like schools.
- Bats are a protected species. Don’t shoot them or try to kill them. That will get you in trouble with state and federal officials.
- According to the U.S. Forest Service, a nursing mamma bat can consume 4,000 insects in an hour.
Another interesting tidbit about bats? They hang upside down to conserve energy. Utah has a variety of ways to learn about bats. Check out this website for more information.