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10-20 Enrichment for Humans: Bats, Rats, and Spooky Black Cats

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Bats, Rats, and Spooky Black Cats

Background: In Madagascar, some people believe that aye-ayes are evil spirits. In the United States, black cats are the least likely to be adopted from animal shelters, possibly because of the superstition that they are bad luck. While there are many kinds of animals that can be pests or even cause us harm, there are also lots of cultural reasons that people dislike or fear certain animals, and sometimes these feelings are not founded in truth or science. Lots of “unlovable” animal species are very important to their ecosystems, and deserve a little bit of extra appreciation!

Materials: Art and writing supplies. Library or internet resources


Step 1- Think about animals that might be seen as “unlovable” or unpopular. Maybe some of these are animals that you don’t like either! Make a list of the animals that you think are the least loved, and then pick one to learn more about. Think about why you feel the way you do (or others feel the way they do) about that animal. Is it scary? What makes it scary? You can make a list of reasons to help organize your thoughts. Use internet or library resources to learn more about this animal. Is there anything new that you learn about it that makes you feel differently? Have any of your reasons for not liking this animal been disproven? Try to find out what role this animal plays in its ecosystem, and what would happen to the ecosystem if that animal disappeared. What are the effects of bad feelings about this animal? Is it endangered? Do people usually try to get rid of this animal when they encounter it?

Step 2- Create a piece of artwork, a story, poem, song, poster, or letter to convince someone why this animal is special. Be sure to include all of the cool facts that you learned about them!

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