Unwanted guests: Evicting bats from human dwellings
Bats are the second largest order of mammals in the world. Their 925 species are found on all continents except Antarctica. Bats are in serious decline world-wide from shrinking habitat, persecution and pesticides. Historically, bats were recognized for consuming insect pests, but only recently has the critical additional importance of bats in pollination and seed dispersal of semi-tropical and tropical plants been recognized. Bats use artificial structures in place of lost natural habitat, resulting in their destruction out of fear and ignorance. The health risk to humans from bats in buildings is extremely low, but where bat removal is necessary, non-lethal exclusion methods can be very effective.