You know, bats really do get a bad rap. Of course, the present situation is likely not helping these adorable creatures. I have always defended bats – including a recent suggestion that all diseases seem to stem from them so what’s their point – of which I argued so many, and the world would be a terrible place without them.

But thanks to DK’s The Bat Book by Charlotte Milner ($20.99), the next time that comment comes up, I will have even more knowledge about these amazing creatures.

So I will be able to suggest that without bats, we wouldn’t have – gasp – chocolate; sugar made from sugar cane; almonds; walnuts; rice; pears; or cucumbers. We would likely have trouble with corn supply, too, as bats consume the hungry corn earworm moth, which enjoys crops of cotton, artichokes and corn.

Not only do bats eat thousands of insects a night, but they are also pollinators, helping spread pollen from plant to plant or eating fruits, dispersing the seeds by either dropping them while they are eating or flying or pooping the seeds out and helping them grow into healthy new trees. The Hardwicke’s woolly bat helps carnivorous pitcher plants grow by roosting and pooping in it. Fascinating.

The entire books of fascinating and I read it cover to cover. While I felt I knew a fair bit about bats, I learned so much. While there are more than 1,300 variety of bats, they fall into two types: Megabats, which includes the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox with a wingspan of more than five feet (wow) and and microbats, which include the Bumblebee bat, which weights no more than 1/10 of an ounce (Google these. They are adorable).

The book talks about what bats eat, how they find food in the dark, how they keep ecosystems healthy and the variety of locations of bats in the world. The book talks about their decline, including myths – you know the ones – and people hunting them for food. There is also a chapter on how we can help bats including bat food and shelter, which is also declining.

Bats are literally one of us – a mammal with the unique ability to fly. They are not rodents with wings, they don’t spread disease (unless people are touching wild animals. In fact, the risk of catching a disease from a bat, is no higher than catching it from our pets), they are social and an important part of our world. We need bats.

A copy of this book was provided by DK for an honest review. The opinions are my own.