Along with black cats, skeleton’s, pumpkins, and ghosts, bats are largely associated with Halloween. They seem to have the “spooky” part down just right, and they cause more than a few shrieks every now and then. Yet, bats are really not as spooky as they appear. They are simply a little misunderstood.
Throughout history, bats have been misunderstood, in western civilizations; people believe that bats are associated with vampires, witches, and the devil. Bats are also feared to be deadly carriers of the rabies disease. Despite this, in some parts of the world, bats are considered to be good luck, like China for instance. Bats are abundant in every part of the world, except for the extreme desert or Polar Regions. In fact, they are second only to rodents, as the most numerous mammals on earth. Although, with that said, bat populations are declining because of human actions.
Bats have been around for more than 65 million years. Bat skeletons from oil- shale deposits in Germany show that ancient bats look the same as today’s. Bats are grouped together in the mammalian order Chiroptera, which is a word from two Greek words meaning “hand – wing”. They get this name because their arm and finger bones are extended, giving them the ability to fly by using their webbed hands. There are almost one thousand species of bats around the world! Many of these species are rare and have become endangered by humans destroying their habitats. In all the species, there are distinct characteristics; this makes bats all the more interesting!
Of these species lies the infamous Vampire bat! The vampire bat is probably the only bat that actually inspired fear in humans. That is because they eat blood, and only blood. Vampire bats also have an infamously “scary” face. They are the only true vampires of the bat world. That is, they are the only bats that solely feed on blood! This alone makes them stand out among bats, and so without further a due, we shall take a dive, one head first into the amazing world of bats!