Let’s Play 3 Lies and 3 Truths: Bat Edition!
Looking up into the evening sky in Michigan, we see bats. They flutter and dart as they dive and swoop for insects like mosquitoes.
We’re certainly not scared of our bat friends! We love to see them do their important bug-catching work.
So how did this amazing and graceful creature get the reputation for being scary? Maybe it's because bats come out in the evening to hunt for bugs, and lots of people are scared of the dark.
There’s also a lot of superstitions and myths surrounding bats. Let’s uncover 3 lies and 3 truths about our bat friends:
1. As Blind as a Bat? It’s a lie!
Have you ever heard the phrase “as blind as a bat?” Well, it’s not true. Bats have eyes. They can see. They use their sight to help them fly.
And beyond sight, bats use a superpower called echolocation to help them navigate the night sky. Echolocation means they send out invisible waves that reflect on objects in their flight path.
When these waves return to the bat, the echo lets them know that there is something in front of them. The bat can choose to avoid it — or eat it!
2. Bats in Your Hair? It’s a myth!
Have you ever heard that bats will fly into your hair and get tangled? That’s not true, either!
Because of their echolocation superpower, bats can detect small objects like gnats and mosquitoes — as well as a full head of human hair!
Bats are smart. They don’t want to be trapped in your hair any more than you want them to. They’ll stay out of your hair.
3. Are Bats Mice That Can Fly? Of course not!
Have you heard that bats are just flying mice? They’re not!
Yes, bats are mammals. But bats aren’t rodents. And they’re even more like humans and primates than they are rodents.
So what’s true about bats?
1. Some bats suck blood.
It's true. Some bats will suck blood, and that sounds scary. But it's really not anything to worry about. Out of over 1,000 species of bats, only 3 types suck blood.
These are called Vampire bats, and they live in Central America. They feed on the blood of large animals like cows and horses.
And their bite is so mild, the animals usually don’t even notice it! Further, these bats seldom bite humans.
2. Only a few bats have rabies.
Some bats have rabies. But most don’t. Less than 1% of bats have this disease.
The ones that do have had contact with humans. You can enjoy watching bats in the evening sky, but you don’t want to get close to them. Don't hold or pet them.
3. We need to protect bats.
Have you heard that it’s important to protect bats? Well, that’s true, too! Most bats here in the US are helpful. They catch harmful insects like mosquitoes.
And tropical bats help pollinate flowers so you can enjoy fruits like avocados and mangoes. Since bats are essential, it’s no wonder we want to protect them!
The next time you see a bat, don’t be scared! Look up with wonder and amazement at this amazing flying creature of the night.