Bats are natural enemies of night-flying insects — and aircraft. The millions of Mexican free-tailed bats at Bracken Bat Cave in Texas eat up to 200 tons of insects nightly, resulting in 20 to 40 feet of guano lying on the cavern floor. The waste goes through a process of natural decomposition aided by guano beetles and decomposing microbes. As a result, guano contains powerful decomposing microbes, which help control soil-borne diseases. Confederate soldiers even mined bat guano for saltpeter to make gunpowder. The U.S. Government at one time even offered free land to those who found guano deposits and made it available to the public. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Benedet/Released)

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