There’s been some controversy over whether bats eat enough mosquitoes to make a difference in the fight against West Nile and other diseases. D-N-R wildlife biologist Bruce Ehresman is one person who believes bats make a difference. Ehresman says he gets his opinion from a trip to catch and study bats with another researcher. He says there were almost no mosquitoes in the area where they were trying to catch the bats and he attributes it to the large number of bats flying around. Some say the danger of getting rabies from bats is higher than the benefit they would provide in eating mosquitoes. Ehresman doesn’t agree with that idea either. He says the stats show the chances of getting rabies from bats, according to Bat Conservation International, is less than one-half of one percent of bats carry rabies. He says you do need to be careful with sick bats, but he says the chance of getting rabies from bats is less than the chance of getting struck with lightening. Ehresman says getting bats into your neighborhood can sometimes be a problem. He says it depends on the local population of bats. He says they’ve had luck when bats have been shut out of buildings and they put up bat houses. Ehresman understands that some people may be afraid of bats. He says though if you’re around bats, you realize they have a personality. Ehresman’s wife rehabilitates bats found when buildings are renovated, and says some are outgoing, while others are calm.Ehresman says the most common type of bats in Iowa are the little brown bat and, the big brown bat.
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