International Bat Appreciation Day 2024: Facts about species that call the C&O Canal home

WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Bat enthusiasts around the world celebrated International Bat Appreciation Day on Wednesday.

The Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal Trust pitched in with some “Bat-tastic fun facts.” Ten different bat species call the National Historical Park home.

Among these species are the Maryland state endangered Eastern Small-Footed Myotis, the federally threatened Northern Long-Eared Bat and the federally endangered Indiana Bat, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

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NPS said that different species of bats have different diets — some eat insects, some eat fruit or pollen and some eat meat (typically fish, frogs or similar prey). The C&O Canal Trust said that all of its species are insectivorous — insect-eaters.

NPS said that these insectivorous bats add “up to more than $3.7 billion worth of pest control in the U.S.,” helping cut back on pests that cause damage to crops and more. The C&O Canal Trust said that adult bats can eat up to 1,000 insects per hour.

Officials said that eight different bat species call the Indigo Tunnel in Allegany County “home.” The C&O Canal Trust said that officials designated that tunnel as “one of the largest bat hibernacula in the state.”

Other species also play important roles in the environment. Nectar-eating bat species — which mainly reside in tropical and subtropical parts of the Americas, according to NPS — are important pollinators. Fruit-eating bats also “play important roles in distributing seeds to maintain plants and forests.”

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