MDC virtual program on Oct. 12 to focus on bats

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JOPLIN, Mo. – Bats have a reputation as being one of the frightful animals associated with Halloween. However, a bat’s voracious appetite for flying insects is one reason it’s good to have these unique flying mammals around.

People can learn more about bats and the benefits they provide to humans at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) virtual program “Bats of Missouri.” This free online program will be Oct. 12 from 6-7 p.m. and is being put on by the staff of MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center in Joplin. This program is open to all ages. People can register at:

At this program, MDC Naturalist Jessie Ballard will discuss the species of bats that can be found in Missouri, their physical characteristics, and how a bat uses echolocation (high-frequency sound emissions that can locate objects in total darkness) to be an effective hunter. One bat can eat up to 3,000 flying insects in a single night. To put this number on a larger scale, it’s estimated that bats eat approximately 100,000 tons of crop-damaging insects each year. This pest-control benefit provided by bats, coupled with the pollinating services some bat species provide, has a financial value of approximately $23 billion for North American agriculture efforts. Ballard will discuss things people can do to help bats and the habitats they need to survive.

Though the Oct. 12 program is free, registration is required to participate using the link above. Registrants must provide an e-mail, so a program link can be sent to them. This program will include a chat-based question-and-answer period where participants can interact with the presenters.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual and in-person programs. A listing of these programs can be found at