Sunday, April 27, 2008

Scoop the Poop Week - from the Air

When I was a child, my family and I would spend one week every summer at my Uncle’s camp on Toddy Pond in Maine. One particular night we returned to camp after having dinner with the extended family in town. As we entered the small rustic cabin, a winged, black shadow entered with us. The creature swooped and dove near the single light, flapping erratically about the room. My father proclaimed it the biggest moth he had ever seen and proceeded to knock it from the air with a well-swung towel. It was only then we learned our enormous moth was actually a small brown bat. He had been drawn toward the light by the insects flying around it. Fortunately, the bat was merely stunned and my father carefully carried it outside and placed it on the picnic table till it could regain its senses and continue the nightly forage.

How are bats relevant in our discussion of poo? I am so glad you asked. Bat guano is nature’s most perfect fertilizer. It has been used for centuries by agricultural civilizations including the Incas who valued it so highly that anyone found interfering with the bats was put to death. Guano harvesting locations were kept as closely guarded secrets and the U.S. government actually promised free land to people who would make the deposits available to the public.

There are two distinct types of guano, that from fruit-eating bats and that from insect-eating bats. The insect-eating bats produce poo that is high in nitrogen and helps plants grow strong. Fruit-eating bat poo is higher in phosphorus and helps plants with budding and flowering. All guano is safe for indoor and outdoor use and can be used on vegetables, herbs, flowers, trees, lawns, fruit trees, etc. Just another way that scooping poop, especially bat poop, is beneficial to humans. If you want to learn more about bats, including where the largest colony of bats live, check out our Bat article on the Animal Facts page at The Jungle Store.

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