Bats have a bad reputation. Through stories, myths and superstitious beliefs, bats have been turned into the bad guys of nature not many people care for. Even with a popular culture dominated by a guy wearing a bat costume and fighting criminals, centuries of bad PR have left bats on the loosing team in the wildlife popularity contest. And it’s a very bad thing for your survival if you’re not be popular with humans. Almost all bat species are engendered or close to being that and that could spell trouble for us. There’s more to this fascinating mammal then blood sucking, and we should be aware of that.
They are highly intelligent and social creatures. Each member of the colony takes care of others, they rise their children together, go on hunts and generally hang out (no pun intended) with each other creating strong bonds. A few species that do suck blood have no interest in humans, they prefer cattle, cows mostly. Majority of them eat bugs and are essential in keeping their population at bay. They are also big pollinators, en par with birds and bees, especially when it comes to fruits like bananas, peaches, mangoes…
This are just some of the examples why bats aren’t as bad as we make them out to be, but there are plenty more reasons you should appreciate the little guys. That’s why an international bat night was set up as a result of EUROBATS treaty. The goal was for local conservatories and nature resorts to actively work on educating the public on importance of preserving bat populations in their areas. The night is an annual event and falls on the last Saturday night in August.
Zagreb has been the part of the project for 20 years, with folks from Medvednica nature park organizing educational workshops, children’s plays and tours of Veternica cave known for its bat population. In the two day event free bus rides are organized from Zrinjevac park to mountaineer home Glavica, from where the tour starts.
The rides to Glavica are organized both on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm, taking off on every full hour. Tickets for cave tours during those two days cost 15 kuna.
Zagreb Zoo is also celebrating the bat night, with educational tours of different bat dwellings taking place on Saturday, August 27th, from 6pm until 10pm.