State biologist tells Minden students bats are friendly |

State biologist tells Minden students bats are friendly

by Scott Neuffer

Bats aren’t the vicious bloodsuckers portrayed in the movies, at least according to Nevada Department of Wildlife biologist Jenni Jeffers.

“Bats don’t fly in your hair. They don’t seek you out. They’re actually very friendly,” she said.

Jeffers gave a presentation on bats to second graders of Minden Elementary School Tuesday afternoon in the school’s library.

“We’ve been studying bats for three weeks, dispelling all the myths,” said second-grade teacher Melinda Reynolds.

Janell Sheets and Shari Chappell’s combined second-grade class, along with Monica Hart’s second-grade class, attended the event.

Jeffers began by asking students if bats were birds or mammals.

“Mammals,” students yelled.

Jeffers asked what made bats mammals, and students answered that bats had fur on their bodies, were warm-blooded and gave live birth.

“Bats are the only mammals that can fly,” Jeffers said. “We have 23 species in Nevada. Can anybody name some?”

“Cutthroat,” one student yelled, confusing Nevada bats with Nevada fish.

But students eventually started naming some native species of bat: the Spotted Bat, the Mexican Free Tail, the Yellow Bat, the Red Bat, the Little Brown Bat, the Big Brown Bat, and the Pallid Bat, among others.

Jeffers showed students bats she had found dead or near dead and had stuffed and encased in glass. Among her collection was a Mexican Free Tail Bat.

“Ewww,” one student said of the bat’s exposed, mouse-like tail.

Jeffers also had a Pallid Bat.

“Pallid Bats live in the desert. They eat insects and even scorpions, but aren’t affected by the poison,” she said.

Second-grader Spencer Kaufman said he didn’t think bats were scary.

“It’s cool they’re the only mammals that can fly,” he said. “They’re friendly. They never really attack you. They just fly around eating bugs.”