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Bats occupy almost every habitat in the world. There are over 1,300 species of bats worldwide.

Bats are one of the most misunderstood animals. People imagine them to be blood-sucking, rabies-ridden, hair-tangling, night-stalking, loathsome creatures. The truth is, very few bats (less than 1 percent) carry rabies. Even fewer bats are bold enough to come near people, and most feed on pollen or insects. Many are listed as endangered.

Bats reportedly eat as many as 600 insects in an hour. By leaving snags and habitat or putting up a bat house, you provide a safe place for bats to live and you may notice fewer mosquitoes and insects around your home or in your garden.

Bats devour tons of insects nightly, pollinate flowers, and spread seeds that grow new plants and trees. They are our most important natural predators of night-flying insects, consuming mosquitoes, moths, beetles, crickets, leafhoppers and chinch bugs, among others. Many of these insects are serious crop or forest pests, while others spread disease to humans or livestock. Every year, bats save us billions of dollars in pest control by simply eating insects.

Bat houses are easy to build. The narrow slats in the bat house give bats a safe dark place to crawl in and sleep during the day. It often takes 2 years for bats to occupy a new bat house because bats don’t relocate often. Bats are loyal to a roost site, so unless it’s destroyed or overcrowded bats won’t move to another location. Even if only about 15 percent of bat houses are occupied at any time, by building one and putting it up in the right place, you're doing your part to help and encourage bats in rural, suburban, and urban areas.

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