Bat Gazing Comes to Central Park

Bat Gazing Comes to Central Park

August 15, 2011 11:42am | By Amy Zimmer, DNAinfo News Editor

A little brown bat. (Flickr/J. N. Stuart)

MANHATTAN — As dusk arrives and temperatures start to fall, out come Central Park’s hordes of insects. Right behind them are the winged predators that keep them in check — bats.

The Urban Park Rangers will shine a spotlight on these flying mammals — less a threat to New Yorkers than the city’s pesky bugs — when they lead an hour and half bat tour on Aug. 20, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Belvedere Castle, a favorite spot for the little creatures.

Because they are so fast and tiny, many park-goers don’t even notice bats, said Richard Simon, deputy director of the Urban Park Rangers.

“There are probably hundreds of them in the park. We’ve never done a count,” Simon said. “They’re very hard to see because they’re so quick. And they’re so small. The little brown bats are two inches. They have a four-inch wing span.”

A little brown bat with White Nose Syndrome in Avery County, North Caroline. The disease is wiping out many bat species. (Flickr/USFWS/Southeast)

New York State has nine bat species — none of which live up to the blood-sucking stereotype.

The six cave dwelling varieties are not common in the city, but the others crawl up the bark of trees and on the eaves of buildings,

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