Israelis to celebrate ‘International Bat Night’ on Thursday evening

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority is inviting members of the public to take part in the country’s Bat Night on Thursday, to explore firsthand the unique traits of this animal that thrives in darkness.

“There isn’t a single place that there aren’t bats in Israel,” Dr. Asaf Tsoar, southern district ecologist for INPA, told The Jerusalem Poston Monday.

Israel bat colonies. (credit: EZRA HADAD)

Israel’s Bat Night, subtitled Preserving the Flying Mammal, is part of the larger International Bat Night effort, which technically takes place on Saturday night.

International Bat Night is organized by the EUROBATS Secretariat, which came together in 1995 following The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats in 1994.

Bat Night has taken place every year since 1997 on the last full weekend of August, in more than 30 countries, according to the organization.

One-third of Israel’s 100 mammalian species are bats, making the country very rich in the small winged animals, said Tsoar, who completed his doctorate on fruit bats at the Hebrew University.

Out of the 33 species of bats in Israel, there is one species of fruit bats, which can quite commonly be seen on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, according to Tsoar.

While they perform a special duty of pollinating plants like fig and sycamore trees, these bats are oftentimes seen as a nuisance by people who find them spitting residual fruit juices on buildings and cars, he said.

All the rest of Israel’s bats are insectivores, and tend to feed on whatever insects come their way – aside from certain species that feed only on scorpions or mosquitoes, Tsoar said.

“They are very important to us because of the biological services they give us,” he said.  Continue reading at…

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