Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Giving Back to Bats

Bats need no introduction to the Goth subculture, they've been there from the beginning, and they're one of the subculture's favorite motifs and mascots. But, bats aren't in great standing ecologically, so I thought I'd write a little post listing some of the ways we, as a subculture, can give back to our favorite animals.

So, why do bats need help? Bat populations, particularly in the United States, have been in trouble for a while. White Nose syndrome, a fungal infection you can read more about here, and loss of habitat have driven bat population to dire levels (also, surprisingly, wind turbines that generate wind power have been damaging to bats). Bats, which contribute to flower pollination and insect population control, are a big player in our ecosystems, and without them, we'll definitely notice. So, they're not just cute faces! Bat conservation is extremely important.

Besides, how can you say no to these faces? 

But what can we do?

Firstly, I don't know many Goths who would have a huge problem with finding a bat in their home, but there are good and bad ways to get them out. So, if you or someone you know finds yourself with a bat in your home, Bat Conservation International has a video on how to get it out without hurting yourself or the bat, and here is a quick written tutorial for outdoor and indoor bat extraction. There are slightly different procedures if you live in the UK, where bats are protected by law, so doing a quick search on your country's bat-related laws would be a good first step.

Secondly, for all your gardners out there, there are ways to make your garden more bat friendly. The Bat Conservation Trust has an essay outlining how to encourage bats, but it basically comes down to these tips: Build a bat box, build a pond, go light on the pesticides, let your garden get a little overgrown, and plant night-scented flowers (such as Four O'Clock and Night-Scented Stock.)

One of the biggest problems leading to bat endangerment is deforestation, which depletes the habitats and food sources of bats. Building a bat box is one way to give back to bats if you have enough space on your property, and it has the added bonus that you'll be able to see the bats swooping in and out during the evening and early morning hours. If you're interested in building one of your own, you can find plans and information about bat houses on the Bat World Sanctuary website, and another one here.

If you have $40 (plus shipping) you can sponsor a bat in Bat World sanctuary. Just follow the link to scroll through the pictures, read the bats' stories, and choose one to sponsor. Sponsors receive a packet with a big, glossy picture, more information about your bat, plus some other goodies.

Bonus: If you're a geek like me, you might appreciate this virtual tour of the bat world sanctuary.

How do you all think goths could help bats in our day-to-day lives? Or, do you have any cool bat stories?


  1. I once owned a German style house on the old river road in Saint Louis. The house was built in 1847 (I know!!! :D) and the walls were white stone masonry that was 28 inches thick. Not surprisingly we needed some heavy tuck-pointing done to the outside walls. When the crew came they finished all but a small section near the attic on one wall. They had to stop because there were bats nesting in our walls and attic and they weren't able to remove them. We would have to relocate them first. I was more than happy to build a bat house in the back yard. I wasn't thrilled about the idea of bat guano lining my attic floor, but I was so happy running around telling everyone, "I've got bats in my belfry!" Pity we lost the house shortly afterward and were unable to finish relocating them. :(

  2. Another way to help is by purchasing bat merchandise from They have bat jewelry, bat clothing, bat plushies... all kinds of bat goodies. Part of every sale goes to Bat Conservation International.

  3. I LOVE bats!! I had the privilege of assisting in the rescue and release of a bat that had gotten trapped in our university's main floor lobby (they lived on the top floor of the building, and it flew into the stairwell and couldn't get back out). My son and I also had one sharing our tent while camping with the Tiger Scouts. I have to admit, though, they don't make good tent mates! ;-)

    Another place to contribute is on the Vamplets website, where you can purchase BAD (Bats Are Deserving) Wrist Bands in Black/White or Pink/Black. They're only $4.95 each, and half goes to the Bat World Sanctuary. (Go to and click on 'Shop', then on 'BAD Wrist Band' or on 'Save a Bat'.)

  4. I've been thinking for so long to build a bat box. I know we have bats around the house, Ive seen them moving fast chasing flies in the evening light. I will definitely watch that video for rescuing bats that happens to come indoors. Thanks for the link.

  5. This makes me think of that time when my boyfriend's cat actually caught a bat (and killed it...). Maybe when my boyfriend and I have a place of ourselves, sometime in the future, I'll convince him to make a bat box :3 I was already planning on planting some night-scented flowers, when I've got a garden of my own, so it's nice to know that that's also a way of helping bats ^^

  6. I have all the bat boxes! We're lucky that we live by the Clyde, as they fly about trying to catch insects at dusk.

  7. Bane: I feel like a crap quasigoth for never having seen Batgoods before! Thank you so for mentioning this site! Now my family can think I'm weird for all my bat stuff as well as the spider jewelry I already had. And help out the little critters at the same time :)

  8. In Australia, our bats are fruitbats (the little guys in your pick are Grey Headed Fruit Bats I think). They are under substantial threat from encroachment by housing and generally despised by the population due to confusion over the spread of certain diseases. They need help.

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