Bats are beautiful mammals and integral to healthy ecosystems. Let’s reclaim their reputation by busting a few myths and getting to know them better.
Bats feast on blood
Count Dracula fans, we’re sorry to disappoint you. The myth is precisely that — a myth! A hackneyed Hollywood trope that frankly needs to go, in our view. Out of the 1300 bat species in the world, only one drinks the blood of mammals – the Common Vampire Bat residing deep in the tropics of Central and South America. Other bat species are perfectly content minding their own business and hanging upside down all day.
A bat bite can turn you into a vampire
While we’re at it, this particular myth needs dispelling as well. Bats rarely ever bite humans. By extension, turning into a vampire is a moot point! The closest a bat will ever get to humans is by chance, usually when they’re en route somewhere else or looking for food. Ensure that you keep a safe distance, though. If a bat does bite, it can transfer diseases to you.
All bats carry rabies
The threat of rabies is real anytime someone encounters a wild animal. In the past, several studies suggested that bats were super rabies carriers. Recent tests have found these studies wildly inaccurate – the primary reason being biased testing methods. Most tests conducted are on unhealthy bats, usually found on the ground. The chances of these bats carrying diseases are, therefore, higher.
Bats are blind
Bats have small eyes and therefore have limited vision. But they’re not blind. There are direct correlations between eye size and impaired vision in animals. Still, some bats are known to have extraordinary night vision, comparable to military surveillance equipment!
Bats intentionally fly into your hair
A swarm of bats in someone’s face can only mean one thing. They’re trying to flee! It’s a natural response if people go poking into abandoned caves, buildings, or mines. Bats may get caught in your hair by accident. They don’t have any other interest in hair otherwise.
Bats are useless
This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Bats are crucial to healthy ecosystems. Fruit bats are integral to dispersing seeds and regenerating forests. The Common fruit bat alone pollinates at least 114 species of plants.