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Why It’s Batty to Fear Bats

Written by PETA | October 27, 2011

I read Dracula when I was 8 or 9 (yes, I was one of those kids), which didn’t exactly help get rid of my fear of the bats who lived in our attic and occasionally needed to be guided out a window. As it turns out, the bats created by horror writers and children’s imaginations aren’t nearly as interesting as real bats are:

© Jeryl Tan | iStockphoto.com
  • Newborn bats cling to their mothers while they fly, and the young bats of some species “babble” like human infants.
  • Bats can eat their own body weight in mosquitoes every night! If you live in the South, this fact alone should be enough to make bats your favorite animal.
  • Bats have been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and they share a shrew-like ancestor with humans and other primates. However, humans are responsible for the habitat destruction that is causing the bat population to decrease dramatically.
  • Many bats are pollinators or help spread plant seeds, making them essential to healthy ecosystems and growing certain crops. You can thank bats the next time you eat a banana, mango, or guava
  • Bats use incredibly precise echolocation to figure out how far away an insect is, the size of the insect, and the direction the insect is heading.
  • To learn more about bats, help control insects, and provide a home for these fascinating animals, consider putting up a bat house. You can prevent bats from finding their way into your house by sealing up holes near the roof after any existing colony has left for winter hibernation.

     

    Written by Heather Faraid Drennan

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    • lisa says:

      Dont think i would like to see bats in captivity, no matter how well you simulate a cave it do’snt seem natual, i live in the UK and recently went to Barbados for a holiday i visited Harrisons Cave where they have fruit bats living they have been undisturbed and left alone and was told they can eat up to a thousand mosquitos a day, thats the only place in Barbados you wont get bitten lol.

    • Curtis says:

      I live in Oregon and our state biologists say that our bat population is in danger and needs the public’s help. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says loss of habitat and disease are threatening the survival of eight of Oregon’s 15 bat species. There are some things people can do to help. One is to build or buy a bat house. This will provide them with a safe place to live. Also, do not disturb them. Bats like to live in caves, mines, buildings and hollow trees. So if you see any bats in those places, it’s best to leave them alone.

    • Rev. Meg says:

      Actually, Nat, I have seen bats in captivity and they were treated very well. I have visited zoos all over the United States, and one has a wonderful bat habitat which simulates a large cave. The bats can sense when it’s day time and they hang from the ceiling, just being bats. Not all of them were asleep when I was there; one bat worked his way across hundreds of his friends to get to a female near the cave entrance and give her some special treatment right in front of all the tourists. Boy was it funny to watch all the mothers in the human crowd grab their small children and leave rather than explain what the bats were doing. And yes, they had a multi acre area to hunt mosquitos and fly when the sun went down.

    • nat says:

      not only that, but it’s batty to think that it’s at all ethical to use their saliva to treat strokes! simply leave them alone — it’s easy to imagine how bats in captivity would be treated.

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