If you’re looking for facts about bats, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to start with the myths that are so popular, and then debunk them!
Myths About Bats
In our world, not many actually understand what bats are and how they help our environment. Here are a few myths to show how amazing bats really are!
Bats are Vampires
This is just a rumor! Growing up, many people first learn about bats through Halloween. Because of their terrifying image, and their association to vampires, not many really understand how false this is.
There are over 1100 different species of bats, only 3 of the species are vampire bats, and they prefer to feed off of other animals. The majority of bats that rely off of blood are native to the Latin America region and only take about a teaspoon of blood from the animal. Think of these bats as giant mosquitos!
Most bats are actually useful for medicinal purposes. In fact, bats’ saliva is actually being utilized to make a medication due to its anti-blood-clotting abilities.
The majority of bats eat fruit, nectar, and insects. In America the majority of bats eat insects, and a select few do also eat fruit. Bats are amazing creatures, and by eating insects they prevent the spreading of diseases. Like the Nile virus by eating mosquitoes.
Due to the bats that feed off pollen, 95% of the rain forests regrowth actually comes from bats. The end up spreading pollen from flower to flower just like bees! These bats are also responsible for over 80 different medications
In fact, bats’ saliva is actually being utilized to make a medication due to its anti-blood-clotting abilities.
Bats Spread Rabies
This is very false! Bats actually contract rabies less than most animals! Bats don’t naturally carry rabies, in fact; less than 0.05% of bats actually contract rabies. Bats are mammals, so they have the same chance at catching rabies as we do.
Just be careful! Bats become partially paralyzed when they contract rabies, so they fall to the ground. Not all bats on the ground are going to have rabies, but if they are acting very erratic do not try to pick them up. Like any other animal with rabies, they will bite you!
So if you are ever exploring your new favorite cave stay away from bats acting a little crazy on the ground!
Bats are Blind
Bats are not blind – not even close, actually. They can see as well as we can, and can even detect different colors! Each bat species have different sized eyes giving more of a range to how much bats can really see.
Bats use echolocation which allows for them to ‘see’ in the dark. Echolocation is the ability to hear the vibrations to sense how far away everything is. This is possible, because they rely on their hearing in order to sense food.
Bats eyesight is utilized to watch for predators, and for some species, to help find food. This myth comes from how bats look when they fly. They tend to fly erratically, and bump into a lot of objects, therefore creating the saying, ‘blind as a bat’.
Bats are rodents
Bats are not related to mice or hamsters, or any other rodent. In fact, bats are more related to primates and other mammals than they ever were with rodents. Many people get this idea because bat faces can resemble rats. In fact, they don’t even do similar habits that rats do, like chewing on wood or plastic.
Bats are actually their own species called Chiroptera, which actually means hand-wing.
They are one of the most clean species of animals. In order to fly well, they have to be clean. They don’t have feathers that help with flying so if they are dirty you could probably see them stumble a bit extra on their next flight.
Bats will make a nest in your hair
Of course, another myth! This myth originated in America, Europe, and Asia. The myth stated that bats were attracted to white clothing. This is specifically scared women because of the typical length of their hair.
The myth after this goes different regionally. From the southern France to Canada many believe the bat droppings will cause them to become bald, or at least result in the loss of hair. Other regions believe that the bats will turn their hair grey, and only lightning and thunder will be able to draw them away.
The more realistic theory would be due to their very erratic flying, and this happens when they see insects. Sometimes they are just trying to go after their next meal. Rest assured, because of their very good eyesight they will not be making a nest in anyone’s hair!
Bats always hang upside down
This is one myth that is mostly true. Bats are nocturnal so they sleep perched upside down during the day, and fly around for their prey at night. This gives them the best opportunity to find their food, as it catches them off guard.
Most bats actually cannot take off from standing upright, as they typically begin to fly by letting go of the object they are hanging from. Their tiny fragile bones simply cannot handle standing upright.
Since they perch upside down, in order to land, bats slow down their flying until they are slow enough to grab hold of an object. If the object is a branch at that point they will flip so they are upside down!
More myths about bats
What’s the craziest myth YOU have heard about bats? Leave it in the comments below!