Tequila to the Rescue of Bats
At first glance, there’s nothing that seems to connect tequila to bats. However, thanks to tequila drinkers, the lesser long nosed bat has been rescued and taken off the endangered list. Being the only pollinator of the blue agave, a plant used as a basic ingredient for producing tequila, it was saved due to an unprecedented mobilization. The incentive was a major one: no bats, no tequila!
What are we doing here?
Although none of the eight bat species found here participate in the production of any alcoholic beverages, they allow us to save almost 23 billion dollars annually in North America! They act as a natural insecticide and devour tons of insects come nightfall. A colony of 500 little brown bats consumes almost 450 kg of insects during the summer, the equivalent of six white-tailed deer! One little brown bat alone can eat the equivalent of its own weight overnight. It’s as if a 150-pound person ate 680 pizza slices in one day, no less!
These winged allies are truly essential for us; yet their populations are decreasing dramatically. Already, three species are threatened of extinction. Besides habitat destruction, wetland degradation and pollution, which are drastically slowing their population growth, they’re also being decimated by a devastating disease: the White-nose syndrome. This very harmful fungus develops mainly on the bats’ muzzles and gives the impression they have eaten a powdered donut. The syndrome disrupts the bats’ sleep and exhaust them; it spreads very rapidly in their hibernacula, where individuals huddle closely together. Since its first appearance in Canada, in 2006, the White-nose syndrome has wiped out entire bat populations: 90 to 100% of cave-dwelling bats have disappeared!
You can help them!
You have several options:
- Install bat dormitories providing them with an artificial shelter;
- Participate in monitoring maternity colonies by registering a colony on the https://batwatch.ca website;
- Contact the Zoo de Granby if you find a bat in your home during the winter. We shelter animals all winter and return them to their natural environment when spring arrives.
For more information concerning our involvement with bat conservation in Quebec, visit the “Conservation and Research” of our website.