Bat Week is upon us | VailDaily.com

Bat Week is upon us

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Many people consider bats scary or spooky, but they're actually a vitally important part of our ecosystem, keeping the insect population in check.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife celebrates Bat Week from Wednesday, Oct. 24, to Wednesday, Oct. 31, an annual international recognition of the important role that these flying mammals play in nature. This event is an opportunity to get to know these wonderful animals that are vital to our health, environment and economy – and also add some intrigue to Halloween.

Bats are one of the most popular animals during the Halloween season, with good reason. Bats can fly, are often dark in color and tend to feed at night, leading some people to think of bats as one of nature's spookier creatures. But it is these traits that make bats fascinating mammals; although there are many myths surrounding these animals, they are not nearly as frightening as some may think. Bats are incredibly important to our environment and studies of bats have led to advances in medicine, technology and fertilization.

There are 18 species of bats in Colorado, including 13 hibernating species. Hibernation typically begins in November and runs through March, depending on weather conditions. Although you most likely won't be seeing any bats during your Halloween adventures, it's important to note that bats may leave their hibernation for brief periods.

Significant Agricultural impact

Besides being festive representatives of Halloween, bats are incredibly important to our environment and their conservation is crucial. A healthy bat population is important for controlling insect pests; bats are known mosquito eaters, but also consume agricultural pests that may otherwise threaten our crops and plants. The insect-devouring services provided by bats are estimated to save farmers billions of dollars each year.

If you notice unusual bat activity, such as a bat seen during the day, please contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife; never handle a bat yourself, whether dead or alive.