On July 26, the public is invited to Bat Night at the Idaho Falls Zoo. They’ll learn how these creatures are more helpful to the environment, rather than harmful.
“A lot of people are curious about bats,” Sunny Katseanes, education curator for the Idaho Falls Zoo said. “They’re really, really fascinating animals.”
The event will start at 8:30 p.m. but they encourage people to arrive 15 minutes early. It costs $5.50 a person and children three and under are free.
“It’s our goal that we hope people will come to this and they will learn some really cool things about bats and understand why bats are so amazing and why they’re so important to our community as well,” she said.
Katseanes said many people are afraid of bats. However, they are helpful to our environment because they help reduce insect populations.
“They can eat up to 40% of their body weight in a night of insects,” she said. “That’s pretty impressive.”
She said campers shouldn’t be scared of bats flying above their heads at night, because they’re there to eat bugs that are out to eat you.
A study was done by BYU-Idaho, Veolia Nuclear Solutions and Official Wildlife Service, that proved Idaho Falls Zoo to be a large habitat for local bats. There are 14 different species of bats in Idaho, and eight of them are found in the zoo. The duck pond happens to be the most common spot.
On Friday, people will get to learn about bats while watching them fly overhead, and they’ll get to see equipment used to monitor them.
Some fun facts about bats: they are the only mammal that flies, they can live over 20 years, they only have one baby a year, and they don’t migrate because of the cold but because they need food.
One concern bat experts have discovered is white-nose syndrome. Bats can acquire this when they go in caves. Experts are thinking humans could be tracking this fungus into caves on their clothes or shoes. Bats will wake up from hibernation because of the irritation of the fungus and many of them die because of it.
Bat Night is an opportunity for people to be educated about bats so they’ll know how to help them. Some of the money from this event will go to supporting bat conservation.
For more information about Bat Night, visit the Idaho Fall Zoo’s website at https://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/1312/Bat-Night-at-the-Zoo.
“It’s a great opportunity to come and have some fun,” she said. “It’s a great night to learn all kinds of stuff you probably never knew about bats!”