Guano (Tae ng Paniki) | Image Source: @natmuseumph via poster by NMP Geological and Paleontological Division

Guano (Tae ng Paniki) or (Bat Droppings)

In celebration of the International Bat Day, April 17, today’s Dignayan Biyernes features a mineral deposit made from the poop of bats — the guano.

Guano, commonly known as bat and seabird feces is considered a mineral deposit. It is rich in phosphates and nitrogen, with a little amount of potassium, ammonium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium.

Bat guano is mostly found in caves, and unlike seabird guano, it does not have a strong inherent odor and has a black to dark brown color. It plays a significant role in sustaining the cave’s ecosystem and is considered the main food of microorganisms that eventually will be the source of heat production inside the cave.

It is also being mined to be used as a natural fertilizer due to its high concentration in nitrogen and phosphorus, the two nutrients essential for plants to grow. Thus, Presidential Decree No. 412 was established to provide strict guidelines on sustainable guano extraction to minimize negative impacts on bats and the environment. Read here

Moreover, through the mineral deposits, bat guano can also accumulate a record of contemporary environmental parameters of its inhabitant which can be studied through past climate and ecosystem analyses.

There are currently 16 guano specimens collected by the National Museum of the Philippines from various provinces including Zamboanga, Bohol, and Palawan.

Source: Text and poster by NMP Geological and Paleontological Division at National Museum of the Philippines (2021)

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