Who Cares About Bats Anyways? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

March 19, 2013
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Did you know that bats are the only mammal that flies? Did you also know that more people die from coconuts falling on their heads than from diseases transmitted by bats? Many people think that bats are bacteria-ridden, spooky nuisances, but what they don't know is how useful bats are to us. Yet sadly, bats are near extinction.

The problem with bats is that not a lot of people like them. Movies portray them as diseased and dangerous when in fact, less than one percent of bats have rabies. Another problem is, because they live in cave-like areas, human mining destroys their habitats. Of course, people don't care, because mining equals money, and in this economy everyone cares about money.

We need to spread the word about how bats help us. For one thing, bats eat 70 percent of the nocturnal insects that damage our crops. Another pest bats consume is mosquitos. One bat can eat up to 1,000 in just one hour! Bats also help out in tropical forests by pollenating flowers and eating fruit and distributing the undigested seeds, helping plants grow in different areas. The forests that people destroy, bats help re-­create. Many fruits exist with the help of bats, including mangos, avocados, figs, dates, cashews, and bananas.

Bats live up to 40 years, one of the longest life spans of a mammal, but they reproduce very slowly. They have amazing qualities that other mammals don't have, such as the ability to fly, sharp night vision, and super-sensitive hearing in order to catch their prey. They use echolocation to hunt, emitting high-pitched sounds through their nose and mouth and detecting when the sounds bounce back to navigate through total darkness. There are over 1,200 species of bats, including the Mexican free-tailed bat that can fly up to 10,000 feet in the air. Another interesting species is the bumblebee bat, which weighs less than a dime!

Bats have so many unique characteristics and are beneficial to humans in many ways. We should help bats as much as they help us – first by keeping their habitats safe. We must help protect the caves where they live. Second, we should publicize these amazing animals more, explaining how beneficial they are to our environment, instead of perpetuating negative stereotypes. Third, we can create bat houses near farms and gardens, helping them reproduce while improving the health of our crops.

In order to save our planet, we must protect the animals on it. Every animal has a purpose in the circle of life, and the last thing we want is extinction. We need to come together and protect these amazing animals that need our help.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the November 2013 Teen Ink Environment Contest.

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EmClaire said...
Jun. 13, 2013 at 10:33 pm
I thought this was well writen and gave meaningful information. The facts were arranged very well and it wasn't over done. I might like it, because I love bats, but I think you did a great job. 
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