Bats are sadly misunderstood as pop culture depicted them as vicious blood-sucking creatures of the night. While most of what you heard of bats are usually myths stemmed from ancestral fears, the benefits the little creatures may bring are often overlooked.
The idea that bats engage in blood-sucking activities holds some water but only to some extent. It is highly unlikely that you will ever meet a vampire bat. Bat experts explained that of 1,200 known species only three species of bat actually drink blood.
But these bats usually live in South and Central America. So, although during your unlikely trip to Mexico you may encounter a vampire bat, chances for it to suck your vital force out are highly unlikely. Bats are too small (about two ounces) to drink enough blood to do any harm.
But when people hear about vampire bats their imagination kicks in and they fail to understand how small the bats really are. Researchers that study bats said that larger specimens enjoy consuming fruit, leaves, flowers but they do not like eating people.
Andrea Dugall, bat keeper at Oakland Zoo, in California, recalls that he once tried to give a bat an insect and the tiny animal looked at him like he was crazy.
Another reason of concern related to bats is linked to rabies. Bats are known as the number 1 rabies spreaders. Yet, only 3 to 5 percent of tested specimens tested positive for the disease. Nevertheless, experts recommend going to a doctor immediately if a bat bit or scratched you.
Another reason why bats seem so scary and gives people shivers when taking a long night walk in bat populated areas is their reputation of creatures that like to get tangled up in our hair.
Bat experts explained that this is a fear inherited from the Victorian era or even earlier than that. Back then, stylish women used to wear their hair in huge buns. But the buns were supported by a network of nets. And because people at that time feared that taking a shower may get them sick and kill them, they showered very rarely. As a result the buns were appealing to small bugs, and small bugs were a treat for bats. But in the process bats were caught in the hair nets, and thus the nightmare began.
Yet, despite the bad reputation, bats are incredibly useful. For instance, they do a great job when killing crop bugs. They literally eat tons of bugs including pesky mosquitoes. Additionally, in Mexico, Tequila makers know best that if there aren’t any bats to pollinate agave plants there are no margaritas.
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