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Bats – rabies, vampires, nocturnal terrors and attics; they are usually associated with broom-swinging and occasional bouts of screaming.

Upon hearing the word “bat,” rabies immediately come to mind. The likelihood of bats having rabies is slim to none according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s time to dispose of the hard feelings toward these ecologically helpful creatures.

American corn farmers save about one billion dollars every year thanks to the nontoxic pest control provided by bats that eat corn earworm moths.

Along with keeping pests in check, they eat the oh-so-loved mosquito population. The little brown bat species feed on approximately nine different mosquito species that carry West Nile Virus; unless you would rather have tons of mosquitos attacking your flesh during the summer, help protect the bats.

White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that is spreading throughout the bat population in North America, has hit the little brown bat species in Wisconsin.

It causes them to wake up during hibernation, burning up their fat stores and starving them to death. We should help this environmentally crucial species from going extinct rather than killing them out of unfounded stereotypes and fear.

Help the little brown bat species in our area by donating to the Coulee Region Humane Society, which rescues bats that wake up too early during hibernation. The website is https://www.couleehumane.com.

This summer, when you are eating that pesticide-free corn on the cob and not swatting away one million mosquitoes, thank a bat.

Jaci Hinz, La Crosse

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