If you would have asked me to name my top 10 favorite animals last Thursday morning, I can assure you that the bat would not have made it to the list.
And, even after attending Family Fun Night at the Emmaus Public Library Thursday evening and listening to an hour-long presentation by a representative of the Wildlands Conservancy extolling the virtues of the much-maligned flying mammal, I am still not sure that the odd looking furry creature would make my top-10 list.
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But, the well-attended session did, perhaps, help to give me a better appreciation of the bat, and make me understand that much of what we believe to be the “whole truth and nothing but the truth” about the bat is more the stuff of Hollywood than National Geographic.
What follows are five of the many myths about bats debunked during the bat program on Thursday, June 28.
- Myth: Bats are pests.
Fact: Bats are not pests, they actually eat a whole lot of insects. A single bat can eat thousands of mosquito-sized insects in one night. And, get this, some actually will eat those nasty ol’ stink bugs. Talk about pests…
- Myth: Bats are dirty.
Fact: Dirty like a pussycat, apparently. Bats actually groom themselves in much the same way the more-appreciated feline does.
- Myth: Bats will get tangled in my hair.
Fact: Nope. Not likely to happen. Bats have such good echolocation abilities they will recognize your head as a place they don’t want to be long before using your scalp as a runway.
- Myth: Bats have rabies.
Fact: Less than one percent of bats have rabies. Bats die from rabies, which could explain why so few bats actually have rabies.
- Myth: Bats suck human blood.
Fact: You have the bat confused with a vampire. Not even the vampire bat, which accounts for a mere three of the more than 1200 types of bats on the planet, sucks human blood. Vampire bats lick the blood of cows, chickens and other animals and live in Mexico, Central and South America. (Note for emphasis: Vampire bats do NOT live in Pennsylvania.)