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The Bats of La Casona

The casona is a historical monument in the middle of the dry tropical forest which protects Santa Rosa National Park. Today it serves as a museum that reflects the lifestyle of Guanacaste in the last century and commemorates the historical events that took place there. Some animals residing permanently or temporarily in La Casona, as are a family of squirrels, skunk, skunk, rats, iguanas, a python, scorpions and other invertebrates, as well as several species of bats. The Guanacaste Conservation Area maintains an attitude of tolerance toward wildlife that has made his home in La Casona. Thus, La Casona has become an important resource for various animal life of tropical dry forest. Such is the case of approximately 170 bats that inhabit the forest for scarce natural refuges that harbor colonies of this size. La Casona bats are quite harmless.

Of the approximately 110 species of bats found in Costa Rica, eight species have been recorded in mist nets placed near La Casona. At least five of them use the house as a shelter during the day. These species play a key role in forest ecology as dry as pollinators and seed dispersers, as the vast majority are fed mainly on plants. In turn, insectivorous bats act as predators of insects working and can get the flight to devour 600 mosquitoes per minute. The vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), which is the only one who feeds on the blood of mammals inhabiting La Casona, even if it is in the dry forest of Santa Rosa. No bat species causes damage to the wood with their tiny claws, and since they are not rodents, nor chew the structure. The only potential impact on the Museum of La Casona is associated with the feces they produce, these are cleaned during routine maintenance of hygiene given to museum.

The species of bats that inhabit La Casona is provided to educate the public about the importance of these animals in ecosystems, and to dispel existing myths about these fascinating creatures with wings. Only one species of bat of the approximately one thousand species in the world that feeds on blood of mammals (two species feed on blood of birds). Bats are not blind but are oriented mainly in the dark with a radar system.

Since bats are mammals, at La Casona can be seen hanging from the ceiling of the rooms nursing mothers with their young clinging to the muzzle of one of the nipples on both sides of the chest. Because (1) the scarcity of large shelters for bats in the forest, (2) the importance of these animals to maintain the integrity of surrounding ecosystems, and (3) the educational value with bats from La Casona, consider that should be protected as an integral part of the museum. This includes educating the visiting public, so you are not disturbed during their daytime sleep.



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