Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bats Are Still Dying! Here's How You Can Help

By Christopher Courtley

It seems that the widespread deaths of bats, bees, and frogs may be linked. These three organisms are extremely important to our ecosystem, so we can't afford to sit by and let entire species of bats, bees, and frogs be decimated. Here's how you can help stem the tide and prevent what could be a disastrous blow to our fragile ecosystem.


If you can donate funds to a reputable non-profit group such as the Organization for Bat Conservation or The Wildlife Conservation & Education Center, then please do so! But keep in mind it's always wise to do a bit of investigating as to where your money is going and what is being done with it. Also, simply throwing money at a problem is not enough. In addition, we need to put our mouths where our money is by helping to educate others. A word or two can make a huge difference, so don't keep silent when it comes to spreading the word about bats and other endangered species; especially bats because they get such a bad rap.


If you can afford to volunteer some of your time to at one or two of these organizations, that would be an immense help as well, not to mention a fun, exciting and extremely rewarding experience for you! Again, the same rules of caution you would use when donating funds applies here. Do your research. Make sure you are volunteering your services to a reputable organization that is actually making a difference.

Educate Others

One of the best things you can do to help costs you nothing at all except for a few moments of your time. Please help spread awareness about the plight of bats and their importance to the environment and do your best to dispel myths about bats and educate others who may still have misconceptions about them.

Buy Organic

Since the article we linked to above cites the use of pesticides as a possible factor contributing to the mass destruction of bats, bees, and frogs, one very important way to help save these valuable members of our ecosystem is to join the growing movement toward sustainable living. A very simple first step in this direction is to buy organic. But make sure it's really organic. If a label says "Organic" and nothing else, it's essentially meaningless. Look for "USDA Organic" or "Certified Organic". Even better, if you live in an area where you have the opportunity to support a local organic small farm directly, please do so!

Hang a Bat House

While it won't solve the problem of where bats are going to spend the winter, which is when they are vulnerable to White Nose Syndrome, hanging a bat house is a nice way to show your appreciation for the bats in your area. It will also give you a chance to better observe these fascinating creatures and perhaps even a few opportunities to educate others about them.

Thank you for your support. Stay batty! ^V^

Thursday, June 7, 2012

White Nose Syndrome: Devastating Fungus Threatens North American Bats

Here's a short video about the disease that is currently threatening North American bats and why it is so important that we understand it so that we can combat it and hopefully find a cure. Please note that the video was apparently made some time ago (the disease was discovered in 2006), so while it is stated in the video that 2 million bats have died from this, the death toll as of the beginning of this year was estimated to be 6.7 million! :(

White Nose Syndrome: Devastating Fungus Threatens North American Bats from Jeffrey Mittelstadt on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Echo of Bat!

By Christopher Courtley

It goes without saying that bats are often demonized in the media (or at the very least, portrayed as nuisances). Unfortunately, video games have not been innocent of this unfair representation. For numerous examples of this, just check out the "Goddamned Bats" and "Bat out of Hell" pages on the Television Tropes & Idioms wiki.  I can recall quite a few games I've played in which bats come swarming out of the darkness (usually once you've ventured into a cave or system of tunnels within a cave) and, though easily killed, often attack in such large numbers (and fly in such an unpredictable pattern) that they can become pretty frustrating to deal with.

Even one of my most favorite games of all time, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, is not without its enemy bats attacking from the shadows without warning. But it's also very bat-friendly, as you will see if you watch the YouTube video below. In this video we see not only how this classic game pairs its hero with a bat as one of many helpful "familiars", but also eventually gives him the power to transform himself into a bat. As such, he can not only fly (and thereby explore previously inaccessible areas) but he can also acquire the "Echo of Bat" ability... in other words, bat sonar or echolocation! Check it out:

In the beginning of this next video, we get to see the bat sonar ability in action. Unfortunately, this is the only part of the game in which that ability is useful. It's a shame they didn't create more areas like this, in which echolocation was necessary in order to navigate safely through complete darkness.

If you'd like to learn more about echolocation in bats, here's a good place to start. Stay batty! ^V^

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wild Wild World of Bats

By Michelle Katrina and Christopher Courtley

Photo by Michelle Katrina
"Get up-close and personal with bats from around the world! Join Rob Mies, director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, for a live bat presentation. Mies has appeared on 'The Tonight Show,' 'The Today Show,' 'Late Night with Conan O’Brien,' and 'Martha Stewart,' among others, and is a co-author of the book Stokes Beginners Guide to Bats. His research includes work with the endangered Indiana bat of the United States, endangered Rodrigues fruit bat of the Indian Ocean, and the threatened spectacled flying fox bat of Australia." ~AMNH

This weekend, visit The American Museum of Natural History for a live bat encounter!! While this presentation is geared towards kids, it is fact-filled, entertaining and an excellent opportunity for a close-up look at a number of different bat species. It is recommended that you order your tickets in advance, and arrive early to be sure to get a good seat.

Also, as indicated in the video below, if you can't make it to the AMNH show on October 1st, Rob and his bats will be at the New York Botanical Garden the following day. ^V^

Friday, July 29, 2011


A MUST for bat lovers! Wildlife conservation, fun and music! Bands, Vendors, Artists. Location: Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ. Visit for more info.