Bats Pollinate


Most everyone has heard of the “Birds and the Bees”.  And rightly so, as they are extremely important pollinators that life itself depends on.  But were you aware that another pollinator fits right up there in importance with them? Yes, bats!

The scientific term is “Chiropterophilly”.  Bat pollination. Bats pollinate many, many fruits (as well as flowers) including mangos, wild bananas, cocoa, dates, cashews, guavas, agave (used for tequila) and a less familiar fruit to the western hemisphere, the durian.  The durian is grown in Indonesia, and is an extremely critical export for the peoples there. It brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in exports. Now that it is understood that the huge “Flying Foxes” as well as the Cave Nectar Bat are vital pollinators, it is hoped that more of an effort will be made to conserve these bats; which are sometimes killed for meat and considered a pest by farmers.

Other important pollinators in the bat world include the Mexican Long-tongued, the Lesser Long-nosed, and the mouse-sized Anoura Fistulata.  The latter is found in Ecuador, and although it is mouse-sized, it has a tongue that is about 3.4” long. This tongue is very useful for reaching down deep-throated flowers, getting the nectar out and pollinating them.  It cannot store such a long tongue entirely in its mouth, so it rolls its tongue into its body, under the rib cage.

Not only are bats great and essential pollinators, they also spread seeds.  Rainforest ecosystems rely on bats to regenerate – critical when we are losing rain forests at such a rapid rate!

We marvel at the beautiful symbiotic dance of life that bats have with plants.  Plants need bats as much as bats need them. 2 very important amino acids needed by bats are manufactured by plants in their nectar… substances that are useless to the plant, but helpful to the bats.

As bats migrate, they pollinate many species of plants along the way.  Plants amazingly open their flowers – in sequence – one after another after another, along a bat-travelled corridor of a migratory route.  Imagine yourself taking a long road trip through the night on a lonesome highway; and as you approach towns the lights turn on and their restaurants open up right before you get there, in anticipation of your arrival.  How totally magnificent that would be!

While bees take the day shift in pollinating, bats take the night shift.  The “graveyard” shift. Thus pollination goes on 24 hours a day. Bats also tend to like flowers that are opposite of ones that bees like and so flowers bloom, trees put forth fruit and the world is pollinated.

These are some of the reasons that bats are protected in many areas, as an awareness of their importance is steadily growing.  The Lesser Long-nosed bat was listed as endangered in 1988 and there were fewer than 1,000 left. In 2018 they were removed from the endangered list with an estimated 200,000 of them in the Southwest United States and Mexico.  We can make a difference with our efforts to protect and care for our bats!

Written by L. Acosta

Mexican free-tailed bats

Check out a video of the Mexican Free-Tailed Bat:

Fun bat facts:

mexican free-tailed batThese bats are insectivores, dining and devouring on a large number of insects including🐞 corn earworm moths.  Bats 🦇 save farmers millions on pesticides. 👍🏼 Bats are a natural pesticide!

This makes them a definite economic asset to farming communities.

Did you know? Bats usually collect together in the same room to sleep. These bats do!  They have a range of complex social behaviors. They use scent marking and vocalizations to communicate with each other. 🦇🦇 They use a different set of sounds for echolocation to navigate and find food. Very Interesting!

Another fun fact – Bats involved in a war? Did you know?

“Free-tailed bats have supported several American war efforts as well. When Confederacy ports were blockaded in the latter part of 1863, a gun powder factory was established near San Antonio. The powder’s most valuable ingredient, saltpeter, was made from local bat guano. During World War 11, major free-tailed bat caves near San Antonio were carefully guarded during top-secret research coded “Project X-Ray.”* The U.S. Air Force hoped to use bats as carriers of small incendiary bombs that would be dropped on Japan. The project began to lose favor when escaped bat bombardiers set fire to air base barracks and a general’s car. After being passed on to the Navy, and finally the Marine Corps, the project was canceled.” –

BY MERLIN D. TUTTLEmexican free-tailed bat

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Townsend’s Big-eared Bat

Townsend are a bat of “special concern” as stated by Fish & Game – in the state of California.

Nationalparks.Gov states “today the Townsend’s Big-eared Bat, is state-listed as an Endangered species in Washington, a Sensitive species in Oregon, and as a Species of Special Concern in Texas, Montana, and California, and they are on the Blue List in British Columbia.”

Check out this beautiful colony we came across.

We were asked to remove this colony by the owners of the building. We are working closely with other conservationists to make sure nothing happens to this colony. They are vital and we love these amazing bats!

Did you know?

Fun facts • this bat curls up its ears so they look like ram’s 🐏 horns when roosting Or hibernating. 🦇 When flying they extend or contract their ears.

• These bats do not tuck themselves into cracks/crevices like many bats do, but prefer open roosting areas in large rooms.

• These mammals are sensitive to disturbances. Light and movements can cause them to awake and their ears will move as they try to identify the intruder. If the disturbance is more than a few seconds, the entire group takes flight and the roost may be abandoned. 😢

Batfacts: National parks, fish and game, bat con.

#bats #batcolony #townsend #allrightsreserved© #batland #batsofinstagram #batman #westernbatspecialists #batspecialists #welovebats #batsarecool #batfacts #bat

Pallid Bat

pallid batBay facts: Pallid bats are amazing! Their ears are long and they are able to hear👂🏻 the soon to be food walking 👣along🦂🐛🐜🕷🦎They are insectivores that feed on arthropods such as crickets and are capable of consuming up to half their weight in insect every night. 👅They leave much evidence of the breakfast with bits pieces of the insect parts ☠️ on the ground in the morning. Pallids are know to be one of the stinkiest bats!! #bats #westernbatspecialists #batland #batfactsforever

Mind your manners! The pallid bat is an impressively tenacious bat, thanks in no small part to its penchant for…

Posted by Bat Conservation International on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Pallid bats are gregarious and will roost in colonies between 20 and several hundred individuals. They love to typically roost in rock crevices, but they can also be found in attics, barns, caves and under bridges. These are extremely stinky bats! The pallid bat will night-roost by locating a place that is warm from the latent heat of the day and eat prey caught while flying or swap social information with other members in the colony.

Females will form maternity colonies. These colonies are typically small, with populations around 20 or so individuals. Each mother will give birth to one pup in May or June and the pup will stay with the mother until it can fly—usually within five to six weeks. 🦇 Pallids – bats are maternal. 🦇 Female Pallid bats do not raise newborns of other females. Some colonies will care for each other young….. but NOT pallids They only care for their own. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

#bats #batfacts #napa #portola #truckee #tahoe #westernbatspecialists #welovebats #batconpallid bat

Bat Guano & Urine Damages

Aside from an extremely unpleasant odor, bat guano and urine cause damage to structures aesthetically, chemically, and structurally.


Chemical Effect

Guano and urine have a chemical effect on building materials. Both substances contain high levels of uric and other acids. These acids can attack the calcium carbonate and other ‘binders’ in natural stone, artificial stone, and even concrete. They can corrode metal building materials such as copper or bronze and attack their protective patina. This can result in problems, both aesthetically and structurally!



Although brick and other clay-based materials may be relatively resistant to acids, they are vulnerable to damage from salts. Guano contains high levels of phosphates, ammonium, potassium, chlorides, and other materials. These and the salts resulting from acid corrosion can result in severe problems of efflorescence* and breaking. Similarly, the effect of the acids and salts on the porosity of masonry and other materials can result in accelerated moisture and frost damage. The acid can also serve as a catalyst in the process of oxidation on nails, screws, and metal flashing’s around the structure.

bat urine

Bat urine

Bat urine readily crystallizes at room temperature. In warm conditions under roofs exposed to sun and on chimney walls, the urine evaporates so quickly that it crystallizes in great accumulations. Boards and beams saturated with urine acquire a whitish powder-like coating. With large numbers of bats, thick and hard stalactites and stalagmites of crystallized bat urine are occasionally formed.


Fabrics & Insulation

Materials such as fabrics and insulation are extremely porous and susceptible to deterioration, thus leaving removal and replacement as the only viable solution for eliminating the guano and urine.

As already mentioned, bat guano and urine have a high concentration of uric and other acids, meaning that the guano and urine are extremely corrosive. This is especially true when there is repeated contact with surfaces such as metals and wood. Over a long period of time urine may cause wood deterioration. As the urine saturates the surfaces of dry wood beams and crystallizes, the wood fibers expand and separate. This can be quite severe, ultimately resulting in the need to replace such materials.



Long-term exposure to bat urine can be problematic, particularly for softer stones like marble and travertine. These materials have a higher percentage of calcium carbonate that makes them more vulnerable to acidic compounds (like guano and urine). These acids attack the calcium carbonate and other ‘binders’ in natural stone, artificial stone, and even concrete. Granite and other hard surfaces can also be damaged, depending on the porosity and permeability of the material (granite’s that are lighter in color tend to be more absorbent). While the outside surface of granite is typically sealed after installation, the back and undersides of the material are left untreated and are vulnerable to damage (please note: even when sealed, granite may still be absorbent).

*efflorescence. A whitish, powdery deposit on the surface of rocks or soil in dry regions. It is formed as mineral-rich water rises to the surface through capillary action and then evaporates. Efflorescence usually consists of gypsum, salt, or calcite.

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