This past summer I discovered scat on my front porch. Thinking we had field mice and not wanting them in the house, I set traps. No success and a little investigation suggested no rodents. I searched on the Internet and compared the scat I saw on the porch with online photos. Yes, we had bats. Bat scat is called guano.
I read everything I could find on bats:
- Because they are the only mammals that developed true flight, bats have their own scientific order: Chiroptera (hand-wing, because their wings are shaped like the human hand).
- Nocturnal animals, bats "see" to fly in the night using echolocation.
- There are 1200 different species of bats, 45 of these species live in the United States and Canada, and 18 species live in Colorado.
- Bats live in dead trees, caves, human buildings, rock crevices, and the underside of bridges.
- Bats have one pup each year, so I wanted to remove them while they were few in number.
- One brown bat can eat 1000 insects per hour.
- Bats drop 20 pieces of guano every night (yep, I used my math to determine how many bats we had visiting us).
- Nectar-feeding bats help pollinate plants and gruit-eating bats spread seeds.
- Bat guano is sold as high-quality plant fertilizer.
- I learned how to remove a bat from the house with a shoe box and a sheet of cardboard, just in case.
- We are waiting for winter and will seal all crevices in the siding, because bats can enter a crevice no larger than 1/2 inch.
I'll let you know next summer if we have been successful at stopping our late night visitors. In the meantime, Thinkfinity can help you share bat facts with your students.
- Bioblitz 2012 Intro Video with Bob Hirshon
Science NetLinks | Blog | K-12
Bob participated in the 2012 National Park Service Bioblitz held in Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CO.
- Common Bats Suddenly Endangered
Science Netlinks | Science Fact | K-12
Students learn how little brown bats have become endangered in the last six years.
- Do Bats Need Maps?
Wonderopolis | Video/Activity | K-12
Students learn if bats need maps, if bats are blind, and what echolocation is.
- Bats and dolphins Evolved Echolocation in Same Way
Science/AAAS | News Article | K-12
Students learn how bats and dolphins use echo to “see” in the dark.
- Stellaluna author Janell Cannon was born November 3, 1957.
ReadWriteThink | Calendar Event | 1-5
Stellaluna, the story of a baby bath that learns to live with birds, is a must-read when students begin a study of bats. Additional classroom activities are also given.
- Exploring Caves
Science NetLinks | Tool | 5-12
Exploring Cave, an online book divided into five chapters, is an interdisciplinary set of materials on caves with accompanying materials and lessons.
- In 1847, Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula was born.
ReadWriteThink |Calendar Event | 5-12
Students brainstorm superstitions they know and small groups research one of the superstitions to determine its origin and meaning or purpose. Students can write about the superstition using the Mystery Cube interactive.
- Examining Convergent Evolution
National Geographic Education|Sctivity | 9-12
Students examine animals that are examples of convergent evolution. They then analyze wings of bats, birds, and pterosaurs to see why these animals are not closely related.
Now, let your youngest students get a little batty with this fun Echolocation Activity for K-12:
Objective: Students will be able to explain how to use an echo to "see."
Materials: Blind Fold and Picture of a Bat
Students gather in a circle for group time.
- Teacher shows picture of a bat and asks, "What do you know about bats?"
- A student is blindfolded.
- The teacher moves to a different area in the classroom and claps her hands.
- The teacher then asks the blindfolded child to point to where she is.
- The teacher continues to blindfold different children and repeat the activity.
- After each student has been blindfolded and experienced the activity, the teacher asks the class, "How were you able to know where I was standing in the classroom?" Possible answer: We heard where the sound was coming from and pointed to where you were standing.
- The teacher asks the class, "How were you able to see me?" Possible answer: We used our ears to see.
- The teacher explains to the class that when you can't see you have to use one of your other senses to "see" and today we used our ears to "see".
Bats can be far less scare if students have studied them. I know that after learning more about bats, I am not as concerned about our summer night visitors. Well, less scared.
What special topics do you cover with your students in October?