Bat Myths

What a nice surprise it was to find out a little while ago that some bat myths show them in a really positive light.

Instead of being seen as ghoulish creatures of the night associated with Dracula, black magic and evil entities, some myths consider bats to be lucky.

In fact, in Chinese mythology, the five bat symbol represents the blessings of a long life, wealth, health, love of virtue and a natural death....a bit of a turn around from the popular vampire bat myths eh? :-)

Here are some more common myths about bats:

1. Are bats blind?

This is one of the most persistent bat myths. So it came as a total shock to me when I found out a few years ago that they aren't.

How well they see depends on the species, with fruit bats having excellent eyesight. But the rest of them can see pretty well. Which leads on to another common myth...

2. They fly into your hair

Hmmmm, well while this might happen very very rarely, it's by no means a regular occurrence and is always an accident.

The fact that they can see, coupled with the echolocation of insect-eating bats, means they're very unlikely to end up in your hair.

So if bats are flying close to you, there's no need to worry. They're probably just curious. Or reducing the risk of you getting bitten by midges and/or mosquitoes by eating them up.

3. Bats are dirty rats with wings

Hmmmm, this is another really unfair myth that has made people scared of them. They're actually very clean animals and spend loads of time on grooming and keeping themselves spic and span.

As far as being rats with wings goes, bats have more in common with humans than rodents.

4. All bats have rabies

Again not true, some do, but the likelihood of coming into contact with a rabid bat is very small. For example, in the U.S.A., only 0.5% of bats are carriers. And worldwide, people are way more likely to get rabies from a dog.

You can only get rabies by being bitten or scratched and since bats don't go out of their way to attack humans (even if they've got rabies), as long as you don't try to hold or touch bats, you should be ok.

If you're ever in a situation where you have to handle a bat, always wear thick gloves.

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