There are many animals and plants that benefit humans in profound ways
of which we are largely unaware. In our ignorance, we may even disdain
an animal that brings great advantages to us. One of the best examples
is the bat. We generally associate bats with Halloween and vampires. I
can still remember watching 1,600 students at Riley High School go
crazy when a bat got into the school and flew back and forth up and
down the hallways while students ran screaming as if their lives were
We are now learning that bats are great friends of mankind. A large bat
colony will remove as much as 200 tons of insects from the environment
every evening in summer months. Bat guano is used in the production of
a number of products — including some perfumes.
How bats survive in the world is an amazing story. Recent studies of
places like Bracken Cave northeast of San Antonio, Texas, have shown
the incredible design that allows such magnificent insect control to
The best hunting of insects is done at night, and in a hot climate like
Texas in the summer that is also the best time for generating energy to
fly without getting overheated. Bats spend their days in caves, under
bridges, or in other dark, cool places. In Bracken Cave there are 40
million Mexican free-tailed bats that spend their days in the cave and
venture out at night, with each bat eating its own body weight in
insects. People visiting the cave say it sounds like a waterfall when
the bats emerge. The bats have babies called pups which they leave
attached to the cave walls. The youngsters are packed together with
some 20 million babies compacted into 250 per square foot. This
clumping conserves heat and allows the babies to be healthy. When the
mothers return they somehow are able to find their pup among the 20
million babies that carpet the walls of the cave.
Science is still studying how all this is done, and how the bats use
their sonar to locate food. How babies learn to fly is another area of
great interest. You can see some of this research at www.batcon.org.
The design of this amazing creature which controls insects and uses
resources efficiently in austere environments speaks highly of the
intelligence and wisdom built into all we see. Truly we can see the
mind of God through the things He has made (Romans
1:19 – 22).
Reference: National Wildlife,
June/July 2010, page 30.
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Does God Exist?, SepOct10.