COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.,(KRDO)--With just a few more days until Halloween, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is declaring it "Bat Week." These mammals are more than just a Halloween decoration, they're vital to the state's ecosystem.
According to CPW, Colorado is home to 19 bat species, and 16 of them can be spotted anywhere here in El Paso County. Not only do these furry friends help farmer's crops, but they're also the only flying mammals in the world.
They're not as scary as you might think, and it's the last week you might be able to spot any in Colorado. Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist April Estep says that's because bats are now looking for their winter home.
"This time in October, they are actually going into hibernation, so the bats are out searching for places to roost for the winter," said Estep.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife says you can spot them after sunset near your local pond or creek by connecting an acoustic detector to your phone during the summer and fall seasons.
"And it will actually hear those ultrasonic calls and identify the species for you so you can see a little picture," said Estep.
The bats are a big help in protecting our state's ecosystem.
"In Colorado, bats are important because they serve as our main pest control, so they are eating millions and millions of mosquitos and moths every year," added Estep.
Without them we would be in big trouble.
"There's a lot of effects without bats. We would lose a lot of pollinators --if you like tequila, they wouldn't be pollinating the agave cactus-- and we'd have a lot more insects on the landscape that people would have to use mechanical or chemical means to get rid of," said Estep.
One bat is capable of eating up to 1,200 mosquitoes in a single hour.
If you do happen to spot a bat, Colorado Parks and Wildlife says you can call their office and report it, but most of the time you do not want to approach it. If you do need to approach it, do not pick it up with bare hands. They recommend using thick leather gloves and move it the bat to a safe location away from other animals.