Na na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na na...

BAT CAM!

 

Introducing the Bat Cam, streaming live from inside Wayne Manor Woodland Park Zoo’s Indian flying fox exhibit located in the Adaptations Building. You’ll be able to watch what our colony of six male fruit bats—ranging in ages from 4 to 7 years—get up to during the day and especially at night.

 

Note: A Flash-enabled browser is required for viewing.

 

Best times to watch

  • The camera is equipped with night vision so you can check in on the bats at all hours.
  • Bats are nocturnal, but that doesn’t mean they are statues during the day! You’ll find the bats are still plenty active during daylight hours, especially if a zookeeper stops by to check on them or drop off a snack.
  • The lights go down in the exhibit at 8:00 p.m., and the bats do become even more active at night. They’ll look for food and interact with each other.

 

Bat Myths

Bats have an undeserved bad reputation, and it’s time to set some bat myths straight. 

Myth: Bats are not bloodsucking vampires

We aren’t saying vampires don’t exist, especially in the Pacific Northwest’s murky rain forests (ahem, Forks), but we can guarantee that bats are certainly not going to drain your blood or hypnotize your girlfriend. The tradition of associating bats with vampires and other monsters has been around for a very long time. But, let’s not blame this nocturnal animal for our very human fear of the dark. Now, there are some species of vampire bats in Central and South America. They make small incisions in animals and lap up blood; however, they do not usually target people and they most definitely do not do the work of Dracula. 

 

 

Myth: Bats are blind

Nope, not at all! Some bats use echolocation, a sophisticated sonar system that most certainly puts our best map apps to shame. Fruit bats, like the Indian flying fox, have large eyes and are able to see fruits and flowers in the dark. No need to worry about a bat finding its way around.

   

Myth: Bats are interested in your hair

Yes, your hair is really cute. The time you spend straightening and curling your hair has paid off, you look fabulous. But trust us—no bat, ever, has voluntarily decided to dive into your locks. Bats are equipped with spectacular navigational capabilities that allow them to fly through the dark and catch tiny insects. They are 100% able to steer clear of your coif, unless you are harboring mosquitos in your hair, in which case you can thank the bat for taking care of that for you.

   

Myth: Bats are dirty and carry disease

Bats spend a lot of their time cleaning each other and meticulously grooming. While any wild animal has the potential to contract rabies or other diseases, bats are no more likely carriers than a raccoon or a squirrel. Like any wild animal, it is best not to touch them.

   

Myth: Bats are pests

They’re not pests—they are pest control! Bats voluntarily eat up to 600 mosquitos an hour, while you are sleeping, protecting us from malaria, West Nile Virus, dengue and yellow fever. Fruit bats also play an essential role in their environment as flower and fruit tree pollinators. In truth, many ecological benefits come from bats. What do you do for bats?

 

Bat conservation

Bats are in danger. Their populations are under threat across the continents, including right here in North America. For too long the urgency of this problem has been ignored because bats are less popular and less understood than some of the other charismatic animals at the center of many conservation campaigns. But bats are essential to the web of life as pollinators and pest controllers and it’s time we take action for them!

What are the threats to endangered bat species?

In the U.S.
  • White nose syndrome, a devastating fungus, has killed 5.7 million bats and infected 7 species since it was discovered in 2006. The fungus disrupts the bat’s hibernation, causing the animals to leave their roosts prematurely, fly into the winter cold and either starve or freeze to death. Researchers are working to understand WNS and begin restoring these bat populations.
  • Wind turbine disruption poses a large threat to bat populations. Partners from conservation organizations, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the American Wind Energy Association are working together to prevent further damage to populations.
  • Habitat destruction, including filling in or closing off abandoned mines, urbanization (noise, light and air pollution), and human disturbance can all jeopardize a roost.
Worldwide
  • Bats are collected and eaten as food in many areas of the world.
  • Cave roosts are lost to improper guano mining, recreational caving and the commercial harvesting of swiftlet nests used in bird-nest soup.
  • Habitat destruction, roost disturbance, and reckless eradication efforts continue to place many bats in extreme peril.

 

Defend bats: You have the power to fight back!

What can you do to answer the bat call?

 

Stay batty! The most important thing you can do to help bats is to love them. Fear and misunderstanding about bats aren’t going to help them. Educate your friends and family about all the good things that bats do for us.

 

Provide habitat for bats in your own yard. Leave hollow trees and snags standing or install a bat house.  Bat Conservation International has a great DIY bat house tutorial.

 

 

Visit the bats at Woodland Park Zoo and support conservation groups, especially those in the Pacific Northwest and internationally with Bat Conservation International, a zoo Wildlife Survival Fund project.

 
 

©2014 WPZ is a registered 501(c)(3) non profit