SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. - When the Florida sky ignites just before sunset, you can hear the squeak of anticipation. The show begins when the sun disappears. Bats all across the state emerge from their bat houses. The nocturnal creatures put on an incredible display that not everyone enjoys.
"The negative imagery that people associate with bats increases at this time of year because of the association with bats and Halloween," says Shari Blissett-Clark, president of the Florida Bat Conservancy, an organization that preserves and protects bats within the state.
Blissett-Clark attempts to dispel myths and misconceptions through bat education.
"They are not related to rodents in any way. They are actually more closely related to primates, believe it or not. They don’t chase you. They don’t attack people. They are very gentle. They are shy," she explained.
Bats also have a very important role to play in our ecosystem. They help by pollinating fruit, but most important is what they eat.
"They fulfill an environmental niche by taking care of a copious amount of insects that would otherwise overrun a habitat," Blissett-Clark explained.
That means less of those pesky mosquitos in your backyard.
"They mind their own business,” Blissett-Clark said. “They are very quiet. They come out after dark. They eat all of your bugs. They provide you with free fertilizer for your gardens and plants."
That's why more people are choosing to make them neighbors by putting up bat houses. Blissett-Clark has helped put up more than 1,000 bat houses in Florida.
"It gives them a safe place to live and it keeps them out of your attic, out of your home, out of your carport," Blissett-Clark explained.
If you are interested in putting up a bat house, go to floridabats.org.
CONNECT WITH FOX 13: