It’s nearly Halloween, a time of year when most people read a book or watch a movie to feel scared by ghosts, ghouls, and monsters. One animal usually associated with this holiday is the mammal chiroptera, commonly known as the bat. This is an unfortunate association as these small creatures are not the scary monsters that old superstitions and horror movies make them out to be. Bats are actually fascinating animals that act as an important part of our ecosystem. Rather than being scared of bats this Halloween, educate yourself on these amazing animals using the Windsor Public Library.
For children learning about these furry fliers a great resource is Bats by Jennifer Zeiger. Full of colourful pictures and interesting facts, this book is a great introduction to the behaviour and habitats of bats. Also great for young readers is Bats: Biggest! Littlest! by Sandra Markle. This title explores the diverse world of bats, explaining the characteristics and behaviours of the different varieties of their species. Includes the giant flying fox and the tiny bumblebee bat (whose size lives up to its name). Adult readers should check out The Bat: Wings in the Night Sky. This book is perfect for nature lovers who are interested in learning more about the behaviour, physiology, and habits of these winged creatures. Includes a guide on how to build your own bat house to help house our furry friends.
Not only are bats not the scary, they can also be funny. Brian Lies’ wonderful picture book series tells humorous stories about a group of bats enjoying themselves in a variety of locations. Some of these titles include Bats in the Band, Bats at the Ballgame, Bats at the Beach, and WPL’s personal favourite, Bats at the Library.
Not only can the adventures of bats be funny, they can be serious and dramatic too. Canadian author Kenneth Oppel has helped create many a young bat-lover with his best-selling Silverwing book series. Shade is a young silverwing bat trying to reunite with his colony after being separated from them during a fierce storm. On the course of his adventure Shade proves he is more than just the runt of his colony, as he faces many life-threatening encounters and makes some new allies along the way. Since its publication this beloved series has quickly become a children’s classic, with many comparing it to Watership Down. Includes the books Sunwing, Firewing, and the prequel, Darkwing.
While being entertained by stories of bats and learning more about them, we should also keep in mind how fragile the lives of these little animals are. In the informative The Case Of The Vanishing Little Brown Bats we learn about the threat of extinction currently being faced by the North American brown bat, a creature that is indigenous to this region of Ontario. These little brown bats are insect eaters, and help to keep down the population of flies, mosquitoes, and mayflies that pester so many Ontarians during the summer months. Tragically, these small creatures are mysteriously dying in their caves during hibernation, and this book looks into the causes of these deaths and what we can do to prevent this species from going extinct. Learn more about how you can help these animals and many other endangered species with the Canadian Wildlife Federation by visiting HelpTheBats.ca.