Everything You Need To Know About Bats
Bats may be the most misunderstood animals on earth. Almost 70 percent of the bat species worldwide, feed almost exclusively on insects and are thus extremely beneficial. One bat can eat between 600 and 1,000 mosquitoes and other insect pests in just one hour.
Myths and Misconceptions
“All Bats Have Rabies.”
Less than ½ of 1% of bats carry the rabies virus. In addition, rabid bats are seldom aggressive.
“Bats get tangled in people’s hair.”
Although bats may occasionally fly very close to someone’s face while catching insects, they do not get stuck in people’s hair. That’s because the bat’s ability to echolocate is so acute that it can avoid obstacles no wider than a piece of thread.
“Bats suck your blood.”
By far the most famous bats are the vampire bats. These amazing creatures are found in Mexico, Central America and South America. Vampire bats feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals such as birds, horses and cattle. They do not suck blood. The bats obtain blood by making a small cut in the skin of a sleeping animal with their razor-sharp teeth and then lapping up the blood as it flows from the wound. The bat’s saliva contains an anesthetic that reduces the likelihood of the animal feeling the prick. Each bat requires only about two tablespoons of blood every day, so the loss of blood to a prey animal is small and rarely causes any harm.
“Bats are blind.”
Although they can’t see color, bats can see better than we do at night. And, many bats can also “see” in the dark by using echolocation.
Bats, like humans, are mammals, having hair and giving birth to living young and feeding them on milk from mammary glands. More than 900 species of bats occur worldwide; they are most abundant in the tropics.
Bats are the only true flying mammals. They are primarily nocturnal, although many fly early in the evening, sometime before sunset. Occasionally, especially on warm winter days, they are observed flying during daylight hours.