Eek Week: Why Bats Are Friends

The other day, I bought a green tinsel bat at Target for $1. I noticed it when I saw a mom buying some Halloween decorations for her kids, and they chose the orange pumpkin and the black witch hat — but they didn't want the bat! This made me so sad. Bats are good. They are friends! Here is why.

First of all, bats are adorable.

Batritos

These are baby flying foxes, orphaned during devastating floods in Australia last year. Flying foxes are giving birth this time of year, but they are often killed or injured by property owners who don’t want them eating fruit crops. Several rescue groups are helping rehabilitate orphaned flying foxes like these guys.

Bats are mammals like us. They are the only ones who can fly.

Baby flying fox

When they grow up, they eat fruit, pollen, nectar or insects. An adult bat can eat its own weight in insects every night, which makes them excellent pest controllers.

Their ears, noses, superfast squeak muscles and bodies have evolved to make them superb hunters. Scientists are building robots based on bats' incredible morphology.

Townsend's big-eared bat

Yes, they can carry diseases, like rabies and respiratory viruses. But so do many, many other creatures we share this planet with. You know what also carries diseases? Mosquitoes. Which bats eat.

Daubenton's bat

Lasse Jakobsen & Coen Elemans

Along with eating harmful insects, bats provide pollination services. Nectar-eating bats are the primary pollinators of several cactus and agave, which is used to make tequila.

Only three species of bats dine on blood. Many of them just eat fruit.

They hold onto their mothers until they’re old enough to fly and eat on their own. Orphans need something else to hug.

via imgur

Baby Flying Fox Tilly

Campbell Newman's Bat Shame/Facebook

They are very clean, preening themselves like cats.

Flickr user ellenm

Most bats are tiny.

Honduran white bat

Wikimedia Commons

In some cultures, bats are good luck. The Chinese word for bat sounds exactly like the word for luck, so many Chinese good-luck motifs depict bats.

Shou Character And Bats

Bats are symbols of good luck in China, in part because the word for "bat" sounds like the word for "happiness." This vase depicts the character shòu, which means "longevity," surrounded by flying bats.Wikipedia

Don't be scared of them!

Sure, they are mysterious. They are quiet and ultra-fast and many of them live in dark, spooky caves.

Big Brown Bat

USFWS

They are the night. All of this makes them good Halloween mascots. But they are so much more!

This little girl gets it.

USFWS

Happy Halloween!