Despite its avian physique, the bat is a unique mammal crucial to the rainforest ecosystem. Over eighty species of bats call Belize home, 55 percent of the country’s total mammal population.
The bone structure of bat wings is actually similar to the human hand, as the two species are distant relatives. A bat uses its wing to eat, shelter itself, and protect its young.
Like all bat species, bats in Belize are nocturnal animals, awaking at night to search for food. The caves of Belize, like those found at the Runaway Creek Preserve, provide thousands of bat colonies with shelter during the day.
Thanks to the growing popularity of vampire folklore in pop culture, many people envision bats as dangerous monsters. Conversely, bats rarely harm humans and do a world of ecological good. Bats eat common pests like mosquitoes, insects that can easily spread disease. Bats in Belize, as well as other regions, spread plant and tree seeds, promoting healthy forests. They also disperse seeds for crops with important economic value, like bananas, avocadoes, mangos and peaches.
Because bats play these important roles in the tropics, their endangerment would cause serious harm to rainforest ecosystems. Humans often destroy crucial nesting caves or haphazardly use pesticides containing deadly chemicals.
The Runaway Creek Preserve aims to protect important species of Belize like the bat, preserving important habitats for years to come. Becoming a member of the Runaway Creek family would greatly enhance the preserve’s ability to protect and enhance the natural habitat of the bat, an animal vital to the rainforest ecosystem. If you would like to support the mission of Runaway Creek please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team or visit our online conservation support page.