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How Do Bats Help Humans?

A:

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Bats help humans in many ways, including helping to control the insect population and aiding in human medical research. In fact, the saliva of vampire bats is useful for scientists when studying blood clotting diseases.

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Bats eat large amounts of insects, thereby keeping insect populations low. This decrease in insects, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, in turn decreases the amount of pesticides that farmers use on their crops. A decrease in harmful pesticides is a win for the environment. Along these same lines, bats are important pollinators and seed dispersers for certain plants. For instance, bananas, mangoes, cashews, almonds and figs depend largely on bats for pollination.

Studying bats also has advantages when it comes to human diseases. One such deadly disease is thromboemboli, where blood clots cause blockages in the lungs and brain and can result in death. However, scientists found that vampire bats have a protein in their saliva that breaks up blood clots. Scientists have used this protein to make a drug than can help people with blood clotting problems.

Unfortunately, many species of bats are endangered. Not only are they misunderstood as a whole, but the dreaded White Nose Syndrome threatens to wipe out entire colonies, even species, of bats.

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