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Bats just another human misconception

The two bats I adopted (sponsored) at Bat World Sanctuary

It’s funny how it is human nature to stereotype things, because we have heard certain misconceptions about them. And stifling these misconceptions is a simple thing most of the

time; we just usually choose to not seek the education.

I had always thought it was odd that people thought bats were terrifying and dangerous creatures. Every time I saw a picture of a real bat, all I could think was “how adorable is that?”

So, about two years ago, I became curious, and I started Googling information about these winged creatures.

I immediately fell in love. What an amazing creature!

Did you know that fruit bats bring us over 450 commercial products and 80 medicines through pollination and seed dispersal? And over 95 percent of rainforest regrowth comes from seeds that have been spread by fruit bats.

The more I read, the more I fell in love. Then I discovered more bats are dying each year, because many people do not hesitate to kill them out of fear or believing they are pests, and many die from white-nose syndrome, which is spread by – you guessed it – humans.

I found myself immediately on the save the bats band wagon.

In honor of Bat Week (Oct. 24-31), I am going to share some bat facts with you.

Let’s talk about some untruths for a minute (courtesy of Bat World Sanctuary):

  • It is rare that a bat would swoop at a human being, but if one does swoop towards you, it’s probably after the mosquito that is hovering just above your head – not your hair.

  • Not all bats are vampires. Of the world’s 1,100 plus species, only three are vampire bats. Vampire bats are very small (about the size of a package of M&Ms), and they do not attack humans or suck our blood; they prefer to get their teaspoon-sized meals from other animals.

  • Bats do not “carry’” rabies; they are capable of catching the disease just like any other mammal but less than one-half of 1 percent of bats actually contract the disease.

Did you know that bats are also highly intelligent and amazing communicators? In fact, bats are believed to be at the same level of intelligence or higher than that of dolphins.

According to Bat World Sanctuary President and Found Amanda Lollar, “Insect-eating bats are equipped with a built-in sonar system that allows them to navigate at break-neck speed through total darkness. Their unique echolocation ability is literally thousands of times more efficient than any similar system built by humans.

“They have over 25 vocalizations they use to communicate,” said Lollar. “They use their chirps, squeaks and buzzes to form sentences to say different things to each other, and the only other creatures that do that are human beings.”

So next time you see a bat, please do not harm it, because of what Halloween horror movies have taught you. These are beautiful, amazing and harmless creatures, who do a lot for our ecosystem.

If you see a bat in need, it is as simple as calling Bat World Sanctuary in Weatherford, Texas, which I believe is the closest sanctuary to Eastern New Mexico and West Texas.

Call 940-325-3404.

Do your research. Be good to the bats. After all, they are pretty good to us without even trying.