Bats! Bats! Bats! Who doesn’t love Halloween and its associated spookiness? All that creepiness, ghoulishness and morbidity, not to mention other people’s children interrupting your evening and demanding sweets… Well, me for one (please don’t disown me, punkies!). I do, however, have a soft spot for bats: the cute little critters, and what better time to celebrate our inner battiness than the Halloween season?
These little mammals have long had creepy connections, partly due to their nocturnality, but mainly because of their association with gothic horror and vampires. As such, there’s a certain glamour to them, but they’re also mega cool for other reasons…
Bats are the only true flying mammals, so, for all of us who, given the chance, would opt for the ability to fly as our superpower, perhaps we should be thinking more along the lines of aspiring to be bats than birds!
They’re also ace because they’re inadvertently responsible – via seed spreading and pollination – for the existence of, amongst other things, bananas (shoving a banana down my kids’ gullets is sometimes the only way of grabbing five minutes’ peace!) and tequila, and I am an unapologetic tequila fiend!
Female bats are pretty much the original Punky Moms gang as they set up “maternity colonies” – essentially comfy places chosen by pregnant bats, where they hang out, birth and breastfeed their babies, while providing each other with warmth and company: living the Punky Mom commune dream!
At this time of year, UK bats are having a whale of a time: mating, storing up fat reserves and preparing to hibernate. It sounds like my build up to Christmas (minus the mating). And even if you don’t like bats, chances are your kids probably will. My toddler loves his Batman pants despite not having a clue who Batman is yet – the power of merchandising. And speaking of merch, there is loads of cool bat stuff about to buy too (see links below).
If you’d like to learn more about our furry nocturnal friends, find out how to make your garden bat friendly, join a local bat group, or even adopt your very own little batty chum, loads of information is available online. Your first port of call in the UK should be the Bat Conservation Trust. Become a member from £2.50 a month and adopt a bat for £3 a month. There is also some fab giftware for sale from affiliated businesses who donate a percentage of profits to bat conservation. In the US,
check out Bat Conservation International: membership starts from $30 and bat loving kids can join the Bat Squad for $40 (the adopt-a- bat plushies are mega cute!). Their shop batgoods.com, is awesome too; I dare you to resist buying something. Or, try Bat World (sponsor a bat for $35) or federal organisations like Northern California Bats or Florida Bat Conservancy for more local info and support.
This Halloween I will be mostly hiding from trick or treaters and placating my kids with bananas, while I down tequila shots and raise a glass to our little batty friends! Happy Halloween!
Jane is a UK based former librarian and mother of two “spirited” toddlers. Keen on all things non- toddler compatible: reading, sleeping and drinking copious amounts of alcohol – especially gin and tequila, she is nevertheless learning to love the torn book pages, sleepless nights and sober responsibility of child rearing.
Common Pipistrelle Bat. Photo by Hugh Clark