Have you ever felt misunderstood? It’s such an awful feeling, isn’t it? Well you’re not the only one. Bats have had a bad rap for years. And all sorts of rumours have gone around about these winged mammals that simply…aren’t true. Let’s debunk some of the myths surrounding bats, shall we?
Myth #1: Bats are rodents
Nope! Bats aren’t even related to rodents. In fact, they’re more closely related to primates and lemurs than they are to mice or rats. Bats are part of their own order of mammals called Chiroptera which means hand-wing.
Myth #2: Bats are blind
Bats can see very well, thank you very much. I think people most often get confused on this point because they know most bats are reliant on echolocation to make their way. Since most bats can’t see in the dark, when they are most active, they rely on their built in sonar system to navigate at incredibly high speeds in absolute darkness!
Myth #3: Bats will fly into your hair
Where did this one come from, anyway? A bat’s echolocation is so finely-tuned that they can navigate around a strand of hair hanging from the ceiling! Bats don’t have much interest in humans. So if a bat is swooping around your head, he’s probably after the mosquito about to take a bite out of you. Hang in there.
Myth #4: Bats suck blood
The only bats that do drink blood are vampire bats found in Mexico as well as Central and South America. They lick blood off of cows, chickens and other animals. Not humans! So please stop worrying about bats. The bats that live here in Canada eat insects (take that mosquitos!), and play a very important role in pest control. In fact, they save the Canadian agricultural industry millions of dollars!
Myth #5: Bats have rabies
Okay I should probably clear something up here. Bats can carry rabies. But so can you and your cat or dog, or that squirrel negotiating with your bird feeder. But seeing that a very small percentage of bats actually contract rabies, the threat against humans is incredibly small. Of course, we’re not encouraging you to head out to a cave and try to handle these animals – they’re just like any other wild animal and will likely bite in self-defense.
Support Bat Conservation in Canada
Millions of bats have died in Canada over the past 10 years. They may not be able to recover without our help! Here are a few ways you can support bat conservation in Canada:
- Put up a bat house. Providing a cozy retreat for expecting mothers is a great way to promote bat conservation and aid population recovery at the same time.
- Buy a bat bundle or Little Brown Bat adoption kit. Proceeds support species at risk right here in Canada.
- Turn your next Halloween party into a bat fundraiser. Download a Help the Bats kit from our website.
Now that you know more about bats in Canada, see if you can get 100% on this bat quiz!