Tuesday, August 08, 2006

BATS: Friend or foe? We say friend

The City of Lake Jackson, portrayed as a defiler of Mother Nature thanks to its successful, long and litigous pursuit of a city-owned, money-losing golf course that sits in the middle of a prime migratory bird habitat, seems to be trying to make amends, in its own little way.

That's our conclusion, to which we jump without reservation, because that is our stock in trade.

The "bat problem" in a Lake Jackson apartment complex located on one of the City of Enchantment's more delightful (aesthetically speaking) thoroughfares, Oyster Creek Drive, is the latest environment drama in Brazosport, where environmental dramas occur everyday due to the mammoth, and potentially lethal, petrochemical mixing that goes on.

Background: a few rabid bats were found amid a large population of Mexican free-tailed bats; the apartment's maintenance workers failed to drive off the bats despite using foam and bleach; now the authorities have "quarantined" the apartments, forcing the relocation of many apartment dwellers.

What to do?

That's what the city's trying to figure out.

This past weekend, City Manager Bill Yenne told the local paper they were looking into bat "excluder devices." This lets the bats out of the apartment complex, but doesn't let 'em back in.

Unlike the celebrated "Roach Motel," it doesn't kill its target(s).

Here's one solid reason not to kill any bats around here. They eat mosquitoes, and Brazosport is one of the most mosquito-ridden places on earth. The city won't come out and say that, and we don't blame it, as it doesn't comport with the "City of Enchantment" imagery it attempts to cultivate, but it's the truth.

When Old Man Dow discovered Brazosport and decided to found a city, the thinking was that someday there would be a "cure" for mosquitoes, thanks to the chemical discoveries that soon would be made and eventually applied to common pests. That's what we've heard anway; it may not be true, but that's what we heard.

Whatever the case, NO CURE FOR MOSQUITOES ever has been discovered, so far as we know, based on a anecdotal evidence.

Still and all, bats are "more feared" than mosquitoes.

What gives?

In point of fact, mosquitoes have killed more people in Brazosport than bats have.

We have personal knowledge of motorists who have wrecked their vehicles and died because they are distracted by swarms of mosquitoes that attack without warming inside moving vehicles.

The hapless victims are so discomfited by the blood-sucking insects they sometimes start swatting and forget they are driving a vehicle.

There are no known cases of bats doing that, but there are reports in Kentucky that humans have "overreacted" to the presence of bats (because of the poor public relations they have suffered over the centuries) and injured themselves as a result.

People have broken arms and legs in frenzied escapes, almost drowned falling off boat docks as bats swoop for mosquitoes, or become inadvertently poisoned or otherwise injured when fumigating a home.

The University of Kentucky Website in which we found the above quote goes on to explain that the average bat can eat 600 mosquitoes in a minute.

We say, "Come to Brazosport," all ye bats who travail and are heavy-laden. We've got boatloads of mosquitoes here.


Most bats are not rabid.
Bat droppings in buildings are usually not a source of histoplasmosis.
Bats are not filthy and will not infest homes with dangerous parasites.
Bats are not aggressive and will not attack people or pets.
Kentucky bats do not feed on blood. (The vampire bat, which does feed on blood, lives in Latin America, more than 1,000 miles from Kentucky.)

For the above reasons and more, we applaud the City of Lake Jackson's investigation of using bat excluder devices to correct the "bat problem" at the local apartment complex.

Let them live, we say. We need all the bats we can get.
Mouth of the Brazos $ee$ tourism opportunities in LJ's bats

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, if only it were bats, and bats alone, that troubled your geography. A bigger concern for you should be the expanding bellies of many of these unemployed - or angry under-employed - Rednecks who seem to be everywhere in the area. Perhaps Dow can mix-up a potion to float across this God-abandoned lands. That would be the greatest contribution to societal advancement around here. Surely, at the very least, such a concoction would represent a veritable challenge to that crisis faced by the Karankawa cannibals when that wandering Spaniard Cabeza De Vaca became the first White Man to walk the Texas Coast. 'skitters? You're reaching for the barest of Rural Lore, Banjo.

Carry on, lad.