“Bat Encounter: Live” at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Sunday October 4th, 2015.
Rob Mies talked to about 400 people at the Denver Botanic Gardens. He talked about bats, had an interesting slideshow/video, and brought out 4 live bats. Rob works in Michigan for the Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC) as a bat expert. He is an author (2 books), scientist (ecologist), and an international expert on bats. He was able to answer every question that the audience asked. Why? Because he has spent an astounding 24 years studying bats!
Bats are grouped into two general categories – microbats and megabats. Microbats are smaller, eat insects (like moths and beetles), and use echolocation (echolocation is navigating using sound waves). Megabats are larger and also called fruit bats or flying foxes. They are herbivores (they love fruit) and do not use echolocation. Rob brought a bat detector (hooked up to an iPad), and the audience could see and hear the bat using its echolocation.
Rob talked about a few myths and facts about bats. Bats are not the main spreader of rabies. Dogs are. In fact, only about 1 person a year in the US dies from rabies from a bat. He informed everyone of the true nature of bats – they eat insects and fruit, pollinate plants, and spread seeds (through their droppings, called guano).
Rob had 4 live bats with him on Sunday – 1 microbat (from Colorado) and 3 megabats (from Africa and Asia). All four are rescue animals. Their names were Radar, Champ, Roddy, and Fred. Fred, the last one, is the Malayan Flying Fox that was on TV. He weighs 2 ½ lbs, is 18 years old, and has a wingspan of about 6 feet. Fred was very impressive up close!
If you want to help #savethebats you can install a bat house in your garden or become a member of the Kids Club of OBC ($10). Learn more interesting facts about bats and why they are important to the earth at batconservation.org.