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Bats May Hold Secrets to Longer and Healthier Lives

A big brown bat being treated at CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) in Sanibel.
A big brown bat being treated at CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) in Sanibel.

Could the source of the deadliest viruses hold the secret to a healthier and longer life? Bats have been in the news in recent years in connection to deadly epidemics including Ebola and COVID-19, yet scientists are discovering evidence that bats may hold a key to longer and healthier lives. NOVA PBS' upcoming program "Bat Superpowers" goes from the caves in Thailand and Texas to labs around the globe to meet the scientists who are decoding the superpowers of the bat. WATCH a preview. The program premieres on WGCU-HD PBS on September 15 at 9 p.m. Check more local listings.

The benefits of bats might not be commonly understood. Bats consume insects, like mosquitoes, and other major pests of agricultural crops. Several species that occur in Florida have been reported to play important roles in reducing crop damage in other states. Bats are also pollinators and seed dispersers.

In this episode, we’re going to learn about some of the cutting-edge science around bats, and demystify some common myths. We’ll also explore Florida's bat populations and what you should do if you happen upon an injured or distressed bat.


  • Sally Ashcroft-Blake, producer of PBS NOVA “Bat Superpowers”
  • David Outerbridge, Director of the UF/IFAS Extension Lee County
  • Yvette Carrasco, Naturalist & Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator, current CROW Volunteer, former Wildlife Rehabilitator at CROW