Breath Of Ecology

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Called creepy, scary, and spooky, bats often get a bad rap. From pollinating our favorite foods to eating pesky insects, they are actually heroes of the night.


Bats are the only mammals capable of sustained flight; the fastest recorded attained 100 mph! The smallest is a mere 1 1/2 inches in length, and the largest, which we would not want to meet, possesses a wing span of almost six feet!


Although popularly associated with darkness, malevolence, witchcraft, and vampires, bats have inspired medical marvels, as eighty medicines come from plants that rely on bats' pollination for survival. They also devour millions of insects which is reducing the need for many pesticides.


There are actually environmental groups formed to protect bats - their aim being to increase awareness of their ecological roles, and knowledge of environmental threats they face.


Bats try to avoid humans, and are not purposely aggressive. When not in flight they hang upside down, as they can only crawl awkwardly. A cave in Texas is home to about 15,000,000 of them, in which case they even serve as tourist attractions.


They are found throughout the world, their fossils date back to 52,000,000 years, and there are 1,400 species of them, so let's get used to the fact that, despite their appearance, we should really be grateful for their existence.


Written by:  Sr. Joel:  a Dominican Sister of Peace who lives in Springfield, KY.  She is a native of New Orleans  and has been a teacher, school and parish administrator, social worker, religious educator, and missionary.  She has written "Breath of Ecology" for local newspapers and has published a book under the same title.

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