April 17th marks National Bat Day. Bat Conservation International started this day to focus on protecting all species of bats. These flying mammals help protect ecosystems and help make sure our planet has a healthier future.
Memphis Zoo is doing its part to help keep these bats safe by putting up houses around our campus.
The houses were made possible by our dedicated docents. Zoo docents like Deedee Perel. She has been volunteering her time with Memphis Zoo since 1992. She has loved bats since she was little girl. In 2018, she attended a program about bats at Botanic Garden. Deedee was so inspired by its speaker Chris Grow, she decided to get in touch with him and have him come to the zoo. Grow owns Grow Environmental Solutions, a company that works on environmental compliance for companies or individuals. After coming up with a plan, docents were able to purchase 8 houses with their own money. Deedee walked zoo grounds with our operations teams and Chris, picking out the best places for the houses. Two have gone up.
All the bats around Memphis are insectivores. They eat thousands of mosquitoes every night. Some of the bat species around Memphis might be big brown bat, little brown bat, hoary bat, Rafinesque big-eared bat, Mexican free tail, and many more.
Bats are vitally important to our ecosystem. Remove bats, and diseases spread by mosquitoes will run rampant. Those insects will cause crop failures, economic damage, and human illness. In other parts of the world, bats are pollinators. Who wants to do without mangoes, bananas, agave (tequila), avocados, and so many other foods we enjoy?
“Knowing we are helping them in these hard times makes all of us feel good. We hope some bats use our houses as nesting boxes to raise babies this spring and summer. Bats need our help, “said Deedee Perel.
Deedee strongly believes that if you take care of Mother Nature and she'll take care of us.
If you’re interested in building your own bat house, the National Wildlife Federation has a step by step guide to assist you. Check out the link below!