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Going Batty

Bats make good neighbors, largely due to their outsized appetites for insects that bug us. American corn farmers save about $1billion every year, for example, thanks to the free, nontoxic pest control provided by bats that eat corn earworm moths. As an aside, I wonder how much of their profits those companies put back in to help this little animal? Here the Horseshoe bat, at roost.

Aside from their agricultural benefits, bats are especially beloved for preying on some of the planet's most despised and

dangerous insects: mosquitoes. This service is a major reason why many people set up backyard bat houses - perhaps not in Hong Kong - but this is more common amid the expanding threat of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, chikungunya, West Nile and Zika; one commonly cited study suggests a single bat can eat 10 mosquitoes per minute. I wonder if we could do more like this, instead of the indiscriminate spraying that simply kills everything... Below, a face only a mother could love.

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