I have always been intrigued by bats. Perhaps, it stems from my days as a child where I would see them sleeping on the side of my cousin’s garage…and subsequently, I remember getting in trouble for petting them. It is funny, how these poor bats have such a bad reputation, isn’t it? In reality, bats such as today’s featured animal, the Cave Nectar Bat, play a crucial role in the success of their natural ecosystem. We will get into this a little more but first we need to rush to the airport as we are going to Southeast Asia to learn about the Cave Nectar Bat. Also known as the Dawn Bat, Common Nectar Bat, Lesser Dawn Bat and of course the Common Dawn Bat.
The $120 Million Bat
Not only is the Cave Nectar Bat important for their natural environment but they actually help sustain the economy of Southeast Asia. How, you ask? Well, these furry, little bats are the only pollinator of the durian fruit. This particular fruit is responsible for contributing roughly $120 million USD to the economy of Southeast Asia. If this bat becomes extinct….the loss of this valuable resource would soon follow as it is tough for a plant to survive if your seeds are not being dispersed. So not only are bats good for the ecosystem but they are also good for your pocketbook.
A Good Restaurant is Worth the Trip
As you might expect, the Cave Nectar Bat, typically lives in…..yep, you guessed it….CAVES! Generally, they will roost in small colonies of a few dozen bats, however, they have been known to have as many as a 1000 friends with them in their limestone cave dwelling. Once the night falls these bats leave their comfy home to feed on the nectar of many plants, including the durian fruit. They have been known to travel as far as 38.6 km (24 miles) just to find the perfect source of tasty pollen or nectar. Personally, I think flying 24 miles for dinner is a little far but if it is a great tasting restaurant then it just might be worth it.
One Big Coincidence?
Remember how I said if the population of this bat decreased, it could cause problems with a million dollar industry? Coincidentally, the Cave Nectar Bat is of least concern as they have a strong population with no major threats. Are people being more conscientious as they don’t want to disrupt the durian fruit industry? Maybe the bat population is doing well as they are a fairly adaptable creature. I just find it funny (or at least coincidental) that when an animal helps people make money….they have no major human threats such as poaching or habitat destruction. Do you think we are consciously protecting this species to ensure the durian fruit market doesn’t collapse? Let me know in the comments below!