Blogger’s Note: This is the last post regarding answers to this quiz.
6. Halloween is important to Nevada because:
a. Pumpkins are its major cash crop. b. On October 31,1864 Nevada was admitted to the union. c. It's Alien Appreciation Day
b. Halloween is Nevada Day. When I was a kid we always got the day off from school to watch the cast of Bonanza – Paw, Adam, Little Joe and Hoss – parade down Virginia street on their horses along with a whole bunch of other mounted men and women shooting off their guns. Now the Gay Rodeo, Hot August Nights, and River Run festivals are the big deals. How times change.
7. Bat Guano is used in the following ways:
a. Fertilizer b. Explosives c. Laundry detergent d. All of the above e. What the heck is bat guano
Oh my, this is my favorite question! The correct answer, believe it or not, is d. All of the above. In fact not only has bat guano been used to create fertilizer, explosives and laundry soap but it is so over-mined in parts of the world that legislation has had to be passed to regulate the industry. (See Guano Islands Act in 1856, which gave U.S. citizens exclusive rights to deposits they found on unclaimed islands.)
Unfortunately the mining of bat guano is causing damage to many species of cave-adapted invertebrates who rely on bat feces as their sole source of nutrition, destroying local paleoclimatic records in strata that have built up over thousands of years, and endangering the bat colonies themselves. Bats are highly vulnerable to regular disturbance to their roosts. Some species, such as Phyllonycteris aphylla, have low fat reserves, and will starve to death when regularly disturbed and put into a panic state during their resting period. Many species will drop pups when in panic, with subsequent death, leading to a steady reduction in population.
The bat caves in FLIPKA were inspired by the Lehman Caves which are located in the Great Basin park some thirty miles southeast of Ely Nevada. Indians tried to protect these caves by claiming they were the sacred caves of the dead, guarded by a “little man with a blue beard” who would bring “dire consequences” to anyone who entered. It worked for a while.
Unlike the fictional caves in FLIPKA, these caves are open to the public, however their location – at least five hours from Vegas, Salt Lake City or Reno – ensures they get so few visitors that conservation has not been an issue. And mining is not an issue because it’s a National Park.
Other fun facts about bat guano:
- Guano kills bad guys! In the ending of Dr. No (the novel), Bond takes over a guano loading machine and buries evil Dr. No.
- Bat Guano starts WWIII? In Stanley Kubrick‘s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, Colonel “Bat” Guano leads the attack responsible for initiating a nuclear war.
- Bat guano mascara? One of the more bizarre alleged uses of bat guano is in cosmetics. http://www.snopes.com/business/secret/mascara.asp
But without a doubt the most bizarre use for bat guano: Bat Guano tea.
In this case the “tea” is actually a fertilizer. Yikes, I hope someone doesn’t take the manufacturer literally.