There are so many myths about these mysterious creatures—it's really unfair. These myths give bats a bad reputation that they don't deserve! Read on and find out the truth about bats.
MYTH: BATS ARE BLIND.
- Bats use echolocation (a sort of radar) to find their way around.
- They can "see" much better than any person!
MYTH: ALL BATS HAVE RABIES.
- Not true. Like many wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, and foxes, bats can carry rabies. But the chances of being bitten by—and getting rabies from—a bat are extremely small.
- In fact, bee stings are actually way more dangerous to people!
- No matter what, the best advice is never to touch a bat or any other wild animal.
MYTH: BATS ATTACK PEOPLE.
- Most bats are gentle animals and would much rather get out of a person's way than to attack him or her.
- Would you pick a fight with something so much bigger than you?
MYTH: BATS FLY INTO PEOPLE'S HAIR.
- Simply not true. It's silly, and maybe even funny to picture, but it just doesn't happen.
MYTH: BATS ARE PESTS.
- Wrong. Bats help control pests!
- A single bat can snap up over 600 mosquitoes in one hour, as well as other little pests!
- Some species of bats even take part in the life cycle of plants by pollinating them.
MYTH: VAMPIRE BATS LATCH ON AND SUCK BLOOD FROM PEOPLE.
- Not true.
- There really are vampire bats. But they live only in tropical regions of Central and South America. Although they do feed on blood, it is usually animal blood. The bat drinks by making a quick slice with its sharp teeth and lapping up a spoonful or two.
- They do not latch on and suck blood, and they certainly don't turn animals—or people—into vampires!
- Vampire bats actually have helped people.
- Vampire bat saliva contains chemicals called anticoagulants that keep blood from clotting. From their research on vampire bats, scientists have developed a medicine to help heart patients. Guess what they called that drug? Draculin!
Illustrations by Dave Clegg