Bat Facts And Myths

Myths will be disputed and facts presented to describe this incredible flying mammal.

Bats are not the flying creatures of evil and destruction as some genres of media have sought to portray them. Bats are mammals, not birds and not mice with wings. Their bodies are highly adapted and evolved for the specific life they lead. They are so unique that scientists have put them in their own mammalian grouping: Chiroptera.

In parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands, bats are visible in trees, like birds. They have wing spans ranging 3 - 6 feet. The people native to these regions do not fear the bats. In fact, many revere them: they are heroes in some Pacific Island legends, and in parts of China, bats are omens of good luck and happiness.

People who see and live with bats daily know their worth and dismiss the myths that have circulated the globe throughout the centuries, including: bats are blind, they carry rabies without contracting it, they fly into your hair and attack humans.

Here are some facts to dispute these centuries old myths. Bats, like other mammals, can contract, carry and spread rabies, though only half of one percent of bats have been known to do so. Bats do not attack humans. There has been no documented evidence of swarming bats attacking humans. Bats are not blind, in fact, most have excellent vision. They use echolocation to find food and fly at night because it is faster and more reliable than eyesight in the darkness. They will not fly into your hair, on purpose. If you get in the way of a fast moving bat, accidents do happen, though it is quite rare.

Bat fossils date back approximately 50 million years. They have been around for a long time and with the efforts of conservationists the world wide, they should be around for a lot longer. Seventy percent of the bats found today eat insects. The species that eat fruit and nectar are vital to the re-pollination of the rain forest and many plants indigenous to the border of Mexico along Arizona and Texas. There are only three species of vampire bats, a very small portion in the bat world, and they are native only to Latin America.

In the United States, bats are essential in the control of insects. A small brown bat can collect and eat anywhere from 600 -1200 mosquito sized insects in one hour. In addition to mosquitoes, bats also eat many agricultural pests including: corn borers, grain and cutworm moths, potato beetles and grasshoppers. Some cities have instituted policies to protect bats and avoid the use of insecticides. By encouraging a bat population, they are naturally and safely controlling insects and helping to preserve an incredible mammal. In addition, bat droppings, also known as Guano, can support ecosystems of organisms including bacteria that can be used to detoxify wastes and manufacture of antibiotics.

The image of thousands of bats flapping noisily as they leave a cave at dusk, can be seemingly frightful. When people don't know the wonders of a creature, they tend to have fear. It is in our nature. Bats are in our nature too: our Mother Nature. Bats are Mother Natures' living insecticide, a movable, breathable bug zapper that needs no electricity, only a small place to roost. Separate myth for fact and you will see that these mammals are one of natures finest and most intricate creature creations.

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