Since it's Halloween, I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little about one of the spookiest and Halloween-centric animals around- bats! And biodiversity! And tequila! (more on that later).
Bats are one of the most misunderstood creatures around, but are incredibly important to our ecosystem as eaters of insects, and pollinators of plants. It's been estimated that a bat can eat upto 1000 mosquitoes in an hour! They also eat pests that can harm crops.
While about 70% of bats are insectivores, a good number of them eat nectar and are important pollinators of fruits such as mangoes and avocados. They are also important in desert regions like parts of Mexico, where catcti and other plants often only bloom at night due to the hot desert sun and limited water. While we think of pollinators as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, bats are important nocturnal pollinators, flitting from flower to flower and helping the plant to produce seeds that are vital to their long term survival.
And of course, with Halloween here, liquors such as tequila and sweet syrups made of agave are flowing. What do these have to do with bats?
Well tequila and agave syrup come from agave, which take notoriously long to mature (and flower). With the rise in demand for tequila and agave, many farmers forgo actually planting diverse species of agave. Instead, they grow clones of agave, and harvest the plant BEFORE they flower to get as much nectar as quickly as possible to the growing syrup and tequila markets.
So bats end up without a huge food source (flower nectar), and farmers end up with less biodiversity in the crops they grow. Should a plague come about that can hurt the farmed agave, the entire agave crop is at serious risk.
This is why as a consumer it's important to purchase bat friendly agave products, such as bat friendly tequila. As this NRDC article states, "where can you get this bat-friendly tequila? Well, don’t look for it from the likes of Jose Cuervo and Patrón. Instead seek out small-batch producers like Siete Leguas, Tequila Tapatio, and Tequila Cascahuín...In the meantime, there is one way to change your drinking habits that may help the bats and the agave. Start drinking mezcal. If you’re like me, the thought of mezcal conjures up images of soggy worms and bloody elbows. (Don’t ask.) But unlike tequila and almost every other commercialized spirit on earth, mezcal comes from the wild."
So there you have it. Drink Bat Friendly agave products & tequila and let's help save both agave and bats.
Have a Bat-tastic Halloween!!