feed at night. Most locate their food and navigate by
uttering a continuous series of ultrasonic cries that
return as echoes when the cries hit solid objects. In
the daytime they seek shelter in a wide variety of places:
caves, mines, buildings, rock crevices, under tree bark
and amid foliage. When resting and hibernating, bats can
lower their body temperature to nearly match the environment
and thus lower their motabolism and conserve energy.
are an important part of the natural system. They help
control nocturnal insects, some of which are agricultural
pests or annoying to man. Many forms of cave life depend
upon the nutrients brought in by bats and released from
their guano (feces). And bats have contributed much to
man's knowledge through scientific studies of their echolocation
abilities, their biology and certain aspects of their
populations have been declining at an alarming rate in
recent years. Some of the more important causes of this
decline are destruction of habitat, pesticides and disturbance.
Loss of roosting and foraging habitat has resulted from
reservoir construction, watershed development, forest
conversion, urbanization and cave commercialization.