Bat Poop

Bats aren't the only animals that produce bat poop or guano.

In fact, the word "guano" has its roots in the Quechuan language and basically means "sea bird pooh". It's hard to believe but this was treated like gold by the Incans and was so highly prized, that anyone that endangered the source of the stuff could be put to death!

So why would people get so wound up about this stinky stuff? Well bat guano, like its sea bird counterpart is unusual because it doesn't have that bad a smell (compared to let's say horse manure).

And it's really rich in all sorts of nutrients that are good for the soil and makes a fantastic fertiliser. These include phosphorous and nitrates, which are essential for plant growth and these are present in high amounts in guano.

As far as bats go though, the problem is that the collection of poop from their habitats such as cave roosts can really harm their conservation.

Bats are pretty delicate creatures in some respects and can't tolerate too much disturbance. Collecting manure while they sleep can wake them up and make them use their energy reserves (in the form of body fat) unnecessarily.

Putting a bat box or two up in your garden and collecting bat poop from them once their inhabitants have left is one environmentally friendly way of getting this excellent manure. And there's always the sea bird variety which is just as good.

Something that might be concerning you about bat manure is histoplasmosis. This is a disease that isn't usually fatal but now and again can lead to serious health problems. The worst most people will feel is like they've got the 'flu.

It's not actually the bat guano itself that causes it but the breathing in of the spores of a fungus that will grow in it if the conditions are right (warm and humid).

This fungus isn't fussy and will grow in other types of animal droppings such as bird poop, so it's not specifically related to bats.

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