This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The influence the family Cheiroptera or bats exert is an altogether beneficial one, their importance being apparent when it is stated that there are fifteen or sixteen different species found in Britain, and that they are all more or less feeders on insects which are not friends to any of the animal and vegetable produce crops. Everywhere the bats emerge from their winter quarters contemporaneous with the insect hosts in spring, and are seen hawking for flies and various insects about woods, over waters, round farmsteads, along lanes and streets., some bent on coleopterous pests, others on dipterous insects, and others again preying on the nocturnal Lepidoptera, while others yet again give particular attention to gnats and insects found in low-lying situations. Truly the bats are friends of all useful crops.
The Soricidae, feeding chiefly on insects and their larvae, some on land and others on water, must be regarded as innocuous and never likely to become injurious to vegetation on account of the annual decimation that occurs in their ranks by agents as yet undetermined, though the owls, particularly the little owl (Athene passerina), kills shrews.
Fig. 75. - The Long-eared Bat Flying (upper figure), the same Hanging (lower figure).