To most people, bats are icky little animals that do nothing but fly around at night and eat bugs. To me, they are amazing animals that are just misunderstood. I hope to show you how bats aren’t really what most make them out to be.
All of the Facts:
Bats are the world’s only flying mammals (no, flying squirrels don’t count). They can range in size from being as big as your thumb to having six foot wingspans. A bats’ wing actually look similar to a human hand, just with much longer and thinner ‘fingers’. The wings themselves are actually made up of a thin membrane of skin. Bats are nocturnal, meaning that they are only active at night.They use echolocation to find their food at night as well as to avoid colliding with each other.
Over 1,200 different species of bats have been discovered all around the world. Each bat can be categorized by what they eat: insects, small vertebrates, fruit ,nectar, and blood. Around 70% of all bats are insectivores, meaning that they eat only insects. There are only three species of vampire bats, whom drink blood. The rest of the bats are either carnivores or eat fruit and nectar.
Some of the things that you may have heard about bats are not true in the slightest. Some of those rumors are that bats are dirty and diseased, that bats are blind, that bats love to get tangled in peoples hair, vampire bats drink human blood and that bats are just flying rodents are all false.
First, bats are actually extremely clean. They clean themselves constantly to keep their fur clean and fluffy. Second, bats actually have very good eyesight, just not at night. Their eyes aren’t that big, so not a lot of light can get into their eyes at night, which is why they use echolocation. Third, bats are afraid of people since they are much bigger than them. Fourth, vampire bats only drink the blood of live stock and they are only found in South America (so you don’t have to worry). Fifth is that bats are their own species and are in no way related to rodents. In fact, research shows that they are actually some what related to humans.
Why Bats Matter:
People also need bats more than most people know. Insect eating bats eat many of the pests that destroy crops that people need, such as cotton, corn, and many others. Fruit and nectar eating bats pollinate much of the fruit that you may eat such as mangoes, bananas, etc. Vampire bats are even helping people out directly. Their saliva contains an anticoagulant that scientists have been using to make treatments for victims of a stroke.
Bats are amazing animals that are usually misunderstood and irrationally feared. I hope to have changed how you look at bats, even if only a little bit.