Why are bats so scary?
The answer is that they are highly misunderstood.
The 5 biggest myths about bats:
1- they are flying rodents
2- they are blind
3- they get tangled in your hair
4- they suck blood and feed on humans
5- they are dirty and have diseases
1- Bats are mammals but they are not rodents and based on evolutionary history they are most closely related to primates
2- Bats have good eyesight. So the saying “blind as a bat” is false.
3- Because bats use echolocation it’s a complete myth that they can get tangled in your hair, they are able to dodge wires as fine as human hairs.
4- Out of the over 1,000 species of bats worldwide there are only 3 that feed on blood and never human blood. One species feeds on the blood of livestock while the other two feed on the blood of birds. And they don’t suck the blood they first bite the animal while it is asleep and then lick the blood.
5- Bats actually spend a lot of time cleaning and grooming themselves and others in their colony. Bats can carry rabies- but so can other mammals. Just be careful- if you see a bat on the ground, don’t pick it up. Always wear gloves if you handle bats or call an expert to help.
I’m hoping I don’t need to mention that bats do not turn into vampires.
I think the most important thing you should know about bats is how crucial they are to their local ecosystems.
Bats control insect populations- including the dreaded mosquito, some bats can eat over 1,000 insects a night.
A third of all bats feed on the nectar or the fruit of plants thus helping to reseed cut forests and pollinate plants.
Bats taught us about sonar.
Bacteria in their guano is a great fertilizer and is useful in improving soaps, making gasohol and producing antibiotics.
There is an enzyme in the vampire bats saliva which is a potent blood-clot dissolver and is used to treat stroke victims.
A bat drinking nectar
A bat eating fruit
A bat eating an insect
A bat licking blood from a birds foot
For a lot more information on bats and great education resources visit www.batcon.org.
Bat Conservation International helps protect bats through education, conservation, and research.
So yes- in large numbers some may view the bat as scary but their importance far exceeds the myths that still exist today.
Plus bats can be cute…
Honduran White Bats
And don’t forget how helpful they can be to humans
Scientists measuring bat guano. utexas.edu