Bats outnumber ghosts in Glacier's grand hotels


November 8, 2017

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks declared October 24 to 31 as National Bat Week.

Bats are kind of like snakes and things that crawl on the ground. They have a bad reputation. People know they can carry rabies and that does not help their general well being, living in a world with all the rest of us.

But there is more. It is a well known fact that in ghost mythology and things that go bump in the night, bats are a form that vampires take to get around the countryside very quickly.

They are black, only come out at night and hang upside down. What more could there be to make bats symbols of evil and dread in the general population.

When I was working at the big hotels in Glacier National Park, driving a red bus and guests around the park, bats were a constant source of panic in hotel rooms and in the lobbies of hotels at night.

It all started because the bellmen would leave the front doors of the hotels open every day. During those daylight hours, bats would come in the hotel and stay up in the highest rafters of the large open lobbies of each hotel.

Then as it started to get dark and cool off the bats would make their moves and usually swarm into guest’s rooms as quickly as they could so there could be a couple of bats in many rooms in the early evening.

That was when the guests would get into panic mode and call the front desk saying they were being attacked by bats.

The bellmen would go to a guest’s room, first getting rid of the guest and then dispatching the bat with a big fishing net or a tennis racket. But not for long.

I remember one family who were visited by bats several times during the night. For that family it went on until around 3am in the morning when they finally were moved to a bat free room. As I recall, they cut the Glacier portion of their vacation short and moved to Yellowstone quickly where all they had to contend with was bad smells.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says that bats are good and get a bum rap. Those of us who have lived with bats at cabins in the Bear Paw Mountains and in Glacier National Park, most of us would agree with that.

Bat week just got over so here are some good things to know about the good side of bats who are not always in your belfry. These facts were compiled by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Did you know that bats are critical for controlling

disease-carrying and crop-harming insects and save United States farmers about a billion dollars a year?

Or did you know that nectar feeding bats pollinate many valuable plants like bananas, balsa wood, agave and cashews?

Did you know that in one night a bat can eat between 2000 to 6000 insects?

So, next time you see a bat, don’t think of him or her as a vampire making his or her way to another continent, but rather think of that bat as one of our unsung heroes and thank him or her for what he does to make our planet better for us all.


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