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Bat houses 0809

Page history last edited by ecop 13 years, 4 months ago

Bat Houses



By: John Jung



Description and Rationale



Bat house attract bats to live in them and produce generations of more bats. In Philippines there are about 48 species and most of them feed on insects. The bats live in a high dark place and they do not like noisy area. A single bat is able to insect about 1000 mosquito sized insects in a single night. Bats are a great way to control harmful insects’ population such as moth and mosquitoes that are pests to people. There are many harmful insects in Philippines that are spreading diseases and destroying farms and their population increasing massively. A bat house is really simple to make just like making a box and it doesn’t take a long time to create one. You only need one 13 feet piece of 1” X 8” to create a bat house. A single bat house is able to carry up to 30 bats.

What is required to attract a bat to enter the bats house? Would bats come into the bats house? How long would it take for a bat to come in? How long would it take and how much would it take to create a bat house? Are bats harmful to people or any other plants? Do bats eat other things except insects? Do bats have any diseases that they are carrying out? How long can a bat survive and how long does it take to produce offspring? How many bats are capable to live in a bat house? What do bats like to eat and what are their predators?

Would there be a less cost and sufficient way to attract bats into the houses? Through the help of one of my fellow friends, David McKay, and my teacher, Mr. Bugbee, I have become interested in building bat houses in order to control insect population. By building bat house from the scraps that are laying around the forests it could attract bats in. Many people in Philippines are afraid of bats and they are not being appreciated. Citizens of Philippine have no idea that bats are harmless towards people and they help them a lot. How are we going to help the people to notice the advantage of having bat house? Bats eat many insects such as moths which feed on crops in the field, and even mosquitoes that carry around diseases that people might get. What would be the best ways to communicate to the people about bats? Give a brochure or a poster board with facts about bats so they would be convinced to create a bat house for their own good.

The initial purpose of this project will be to research the biology and ecology of bats living in Philippines around the farms and villages. Through a search of the literature as well as firsthand observations and interviews with people living near the bats and have seen bats (with the assistance of a Tagalog-speaking interpreter). These initial findings will help guide the experimental phase, where key variables in the bats survivability and usefulness will be further explored.

It is hoped that new uses of the previously afraid and hated bats might help improve the livelihood of the people living along the forest and bats through a more informed understanding of an abundant biological resource





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Common Names and Synonyms


Horseshoe Bats’ scientific name is called Rhinolophus. The name bat comes from an old Norwegians’ language, "ledhrblaka," "leather flapper." It became "bakka" and then "bat." In the Philippines in the jungle is called a bats or night crawlers, because it flies during the night and uses echolocation instead of most of its sights. In Tagalog it is called paniki. There are no other synonyms except a bat because nobody sees that it’s a yellow faced bat.







Kingdom: Animalia – Animal

Phylum: Chordata – Chordates

Class: Mammalia – Mammals

Order: Chiroptera – Bats

Family: Rhinolophinae – Leaf Nosed Bat

Genus: Rhinolophus – Horseshoe Bat

Ex Species: Rhinolophus Virgo – Yellow Faced Horseshoe Bat


There are many types of bats that science has not described and many of them are being threatened of being extinct. As a result, they are being put up at the IUCN Red List. The Red list helps the bats to be cared for and looked after.






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Morphology and Physical Description



All Rhinolophus bats have leaf or spear-like protuberances (Something like a knob) on their noses. Many species of bats have fleshy folds of skin around their nostrils called a nose leaf. In the horseshoe bats, the lower part of its nose leaf is shaped like a horseshoe or a U-shape. This lower section covers the bat's upper lip. The upper part of the nose leaf, above the nostril, is pointed. In some species, such as Hildebrandt's horseshoe bat, the nose leaf is really hairy.


Echolocation calls are emitted through these nasal structures, which may serve to focus the sound. The ears of these bats vary in size and lack a tragus (Any of the hairs growing at the entrance to the meatus of the external ear). Their hind limbs are not well developed, so that they cannot walk on all fours. Their wings are broad and rounded, making them highly maneuverable in flight in cluttered spaces. Most rhinolophids are dull brown or reddish brown in color. Their fur has a tendency to become bleached, so some individuals may become a bright reddish-orange. Other bats can have gray, black, dark brown, yellow, or bright orange-red fur. Their fur is long and soft. These bats have large ears that are typically pointy and can move independently of one another. Their eyes are relatively small. They vary in size from 2.5 cm to 14 cm in head-body length, and 4 to 120 grams in weight. Males may be slightly larger than females. The smaller species of these bats can have a head and body length of 3.5 centimeters and the larger species can measure 11 centimeters. They weigh from 4.3 grams to 35 grams.






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Getting Food



Like all bats, horseshoe bats are nocturnal (they are active at night). They begin to look for their food later in the evening than most other bats do. They usually hunt about 6 meters above the ground. Horseshoe bats have a fluttering (to flap the wings rapidly; fly with flapping movements) or hovering (to hang fluttering or suspended in the air) flight. These bats will catch prey (animals hunted for food) both in flight and on surfaces, such as leaves or branches. Some bats also sit on some type of branch, and snatch insects as they fly past. When searching, for food on surfaces, called gleaning, these bats find prey on branches, leaves, rocks, and the ground. The bats will eat the insect in flight if they are small enough. If the prey is a large insect, they may take their prey back to a roost or a feeding perch. They can catch the insect in their wings and store it in their cheek.

To locate their prey, horseshoe bats use echolocation, a technique in which they send out sounds and listen to the sounds that bounce back to locate objects. Horseshoe bats echolocate through their noses, even though most bats, which send out echolocation calls through their mouths. Using echolocation, horseshoe bats can detect the flutter of insects' wings from very far away.




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All Rhinolophids reproduce sexually. Female bats including ones that hibernate during the winter mate during the fall, but fertilization (capable of development by uniting it with the male) does not occur until the spring. In some of the other species, mating and fertilization occur in the spring. For bats that live in tropical areas such as the Philippine, females give birth during the warm seasons. In some species, males and females live together all year. Gestation (pregnancy) ranges from seven weeks to slightly over five months. Bats typically have one offspring per season, and the babies are independent at six to eight weeks of age.


Rhinolophids, like many bats, can live a very long live for such small animal. The longest known lifespan of a wild Rhinolophids is 30 years.





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Environmental Factors



Most Rhinolophus gather together and form small colonies up to twenty to 2,000 individuals. One species in particular, the woolly horseshoe bat, live in pairs. These bats hang freely when they rest, not huddling next to one another to keep warm as many other bats do. When roosting, these bats wrap their wings around themselves, enclosing their entire body.

Rhinolophids live in a wide variety of areas, such as in the forests, savannas, open areas, and occasionally in deserts. Horseshoe bats can live in areas that are cooler than many other bats can survive. They also have a wide variety of places in which they roost. Primary roosting sites include caves and hollow trees. Other roosting sites include buildings, houses, mines, holes, and tunnels. Some of these bats roost in open areas. Research indicates that the roosting sites for these bats may be important factors in determining where they decide to live.

People have caused the decline in many species of horseshoe bats by destroying their habitat. Altering or disturbing these bats' habitat can indirectly reduce their prey. The use of insecticides, a chemical used to kill or control insects, has also reduced the population of the bats' prey. Bats are not typically important prey for other animals, but they are preyed upon by only some of the birds and snakes.






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Origin and Distribution



Rhinolophids are widely distributed throughout both temperate and tropical regions of the world. They inhabit southern Europe, Africa, Asia, northern and eastern Australia, and many Pacific islands.





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Importance to People



All bats in the family Rhinolophidae eat only insects and other small arthropods such as spiders. They help the people by limiting the populations of harmful insects and spiders.


Rhinolophids also helps people in with gardening too. Rhinolophids helps the garden to pollinate and spread the seed around enabling the garden to grow more beautiful. They like to suck on nectars which allow the seeds to carry on to a different spot. These bats also have a very good fertilizer called the bat guano which is from their manure or waste that they produce. It is one of the richest fertilizers in the world.






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Potential Solutions


Many people in the Philippines fear bats and while I was interviewing people at a barangay which is like a small village in Tagalog one of them told me that there were bats around Philippines that eat people. They also think that bats could have rabies and that they are very dangerous to be around. Many people also in that barangay were affected by disease such as dengue and yellow fever. The families were too poor to afford to buy any medication so many of them ended up dyeing or suffering a lot from it. Bats are one of the best solutions to cure these problems, because through research it said that a Rhinolophus Bat can eat up to 1000 harmful insects per night as I said before. There seem to be several promising livelihood possibilities that may be able to benefit poor families living around Philippines. Below are 3 possibilities with an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages for each. Along with each possibility is a current status report of progress made to date on each of the possibilities.


Possibility 1 -




In the West part of the world there have been many people with the problem of having too much mosquitoes and harmful insects flying around. United States and Canada decided to build something that would be cheap and a sufficient solution toward this problem. An average bat house can fit up to 30 bats and each bat eat about 1000 mosquitoes so if you do the math. It is one of the cheapest ways to control harmful insect population which also gives less chance of getting disease from them.





1.    First of all, bats are one of the top predators of harmful insects and they don’t cost or harm anybody. It doesn’t take that much time and you don’t need many resources to make a bat house. Just like making a simple box with four sides and a roof with it. You could sell this bat houses to people for income to their family. The bat houses can also help the Philippines to be a safer place to live in.


2.    With bat houses you wouldn’t have to worry about getting many harmful diseases that could kill your family, and there have been rarely any bats that had rabies in the Philippines. Also if you own a farm bats also eat harmful insects toward crops.




1.    Bat houses are made out of food, and in places like Philippines it could be hard for the bat house to survive for a long period of time. The bat house should be away from getting hit by the rain and they needed to be well taken care of. Another bad thing about bat houses is that in Philippines there are many termites that live around and they could end up eating your bat house.


2.    Another disadvantages is that bats are not everywhere in the Philippines, and some of them are very careful to where they go. They hate noisy places and like to be in dark places while sleeping. If it is too noisy there could be no bats that would end up coming inside the bat house.



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Possibility 2 -


Many people in the Philippines have misunderstanding about bats and they usually know nothing about them but fear them. People end up thinking that they are harmful to humans and that they shouldn’t be living around their families, so they end up killing them or eating them for their food. My sister went to Subic as an outdoor education field trip and she came back eating bats because bats were one of their main types of dish that they ate. Bats around the world are being endangered such as the Rhinolophus bats and they are great source of killing many harmful insects in the world.




1.    Is that people will know more about bats and they will understand the importance of bats and what they are capable to do for our world. Many people don’t even know that they are declining bat’s population. One of the ways that people in Philippines are harming the bats is that some of the chemicals that they use to kill insects can also affect bats. They should learn that they should care bats and be careful not to harm them. In another words they should love bats. I would do this by making brochures and showing them good facts about bats in the world.


2.    Another advantage would be that I could use this chance to teach about how wonderful God is and that he created every single thing in the world in a unique way. I could minister to them and show God loves toward the world and every one of us by teaching them about His creation.




1.    One of the disadvantages is that people in the barangay don’t know English so it would be difficult for me to teach people by myself. I would need a translator to go with me, and since, I am still a student I wouldn’t be able to have time to go out every day and teach it to people.


2.    Since I am not experienced at doing stuff like this. I might be not affective toward the people there and they might think that I am just another strange guy doing his project for no reason. They could also have misunderstanding about my teachings.




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Possibility 3 -


One of the richest fertilizers in the world comes from bats manure. This fertilizer is called bat guano and they are really rare to find around the world since the population of bats has declined. Bat guano has been said that it is better fertilizer than from volcano eruptions. That is why you should make a bat house to keep all the bats in one place and keep the fertilizers in once place by making a container below the house.




1.    These fertilizers could help poor family to grow their own food to feed their family and even to sell the foods. The food would be rich which would help the family to be healthy and have sufficient amount of food.


2.    Since, bat guano is a rare to have you could sell it to people for expensive amount of price. People around the world with gardens want the best fertilizers so supply demand could raise the price of bat guano.




1.    Bat guano’s aren’t easy to find because bats don’t produce a lot of them at once, so it would take at least month to gather enough sufficient to put it in your garden. Storing bat guano could also make your house smell dirty and it would be not easy to live with it.




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