Some people fear things that they don’t understand, and some animals seem scarier than they really are. Bats are one of those animals. They have a bad rap, but they do a lot of good things.
Why Do We Fear Bats?
Some of us are afraid of bats because we’re taught to fear them. A bat gets in the house when you’re a kid, and your parents tell you to get into your room and shut the door. Next, you freak out because you think the bats are going to come and get you, but your parents are actually just trying to get the critter back outside safely (hopefully).
Your young childish mind turns that creature into something evil and something you should fear. Unfortunately, that fear sometimes carries with you into adulthood, when hopefully, you learn the bats are good.
Our parents and even the fears of them from our friends aren’t the only things that make bats seem like they’re a lot scarier than they are. Movies like Cujo, where a bat bites a dog and the dog gets rabies, and then the dog starts killing people, reinforces these fears. Maybe the dog’s not the bad guy, it’s the bat? Then, there’s Dracula, who in some stories can turn into a bat and suck the blood from people. And, with there actually being a vampire bat, some folks might actually think that bats really do bite people. While they do, but it’s not very common.
The two biggest fears seem to be the fear of being bitten by a bat and the fear of getting rabies. Neither of these things, however, is very likely to happen. According to the CDC, the occurrence of rabies in bats is minimal. A bat is likely to bite you if you try to grab it, but it’s not going to swoop down at night and suck your blood unless you’re an animal, and it’s a vampire bat.
Some Great Reasons We Shouldn’t Fear Bats
The reasons to like bats far outweigh the reasons to dislike them. Sure, there’s a small percentage of a chance that a bat might carry rabies. Perhaps, you’ll be bitten trying to get a wayward bat out of your home. However, the possibility of these things happening are rare. In fact, you can help prevent bats coming into your home by keeping your home’s attics sealed off (so you don’t get bats in the belfry), and by not leaving your doors open at night with the porch light on. (Bats may fly up to lights to eat the bugs that congregate there.)
Instead of being fearful, the next time you see a bat flying around in the night air, thank them. Here’s why:
They Eat Bugs
Bats come in a variety of different types, and not all of them eat the same things. While some bats live on a diet of fruit and nectar, others live on insects. Those insect-eating bats are devouring bugs that fly around at night in the sky, including mosquitoes. Which would you rather have, a bat flying around in the night eating mosquitoes or mosquitos biting you?
While you may be under the mistaken impression that bees, butterflies, and possibly some other insects are the primary pollinators in your environment, you may be surprised to know that hundreds of plants rely on bats for pollination.
They Have Powerful Poop
Bat poop, also called guano, has a couple of beneficial uses. Just like any poop, guano is a great fertilizer that can help gardens grow. Aside from conditioning soil and fertilizing plants, bat poop may also create new plants, as fruit-eating bats poop out undigested seeds that later grow into new plants.
They’re a Lot Smaller Than You
Taking into account all of the benefits of bats and the fact that they’re eating bugs that generally are trying to eat you, it makes sense that you shouldn’t be afraid of this little flying creature. Aside from all of those good things that bats do, they’re a lot smaller than you. It’s more likely that they’re more afraid of you than you are of them. Plus, don’t forget, they’re not going to bite you unless you mess with them.