Bat Myths

Myths are invented ideas that are not actually true. Below are some common myths that have created a negative view of bats. Each myth is followed by facts so you can learn the truth. Help protect these important animals by sharing the facts about bats.

Myth: Bats are blind.
Fact: Bats are not blind, all bats can see. Bats are often thought to be blind because many species have smaller eyes and use echolocation to navigate, however they can still see.

Myth: Bats are rodents.
Fact: Bats are not rodents, they are in their own order of mammals called Chiroptera which translates as “hand-wing.”

Myth: Bats are worthless animals.
Fact: Bats are very helpful and useful animals. They are key components to many ecosystems. Bats help control insect populations, reseed deforested land, and pollinate plants, including those that provide food for humans. We have learned a great deal about sonar and echolocation from bats. Humans have also found bat guano (feces) to be very useful to be used as fertilizer and making gasohol. Bacteria in their guano are helpful in improving soaps and antibiotics as well.

Myth: All bats have rabies.
Fact: Less than 1% of bats have rabies. Bats die from rabies. Remember to never handle any wild animal because there is always a chance that they may have diseases.

Myth: Bats get tangled in your hair.
Fact: Bats do not want to get in your hair. They do not build nests and do not get tangled in human hair.

Myth: Bats attack people.
Fact: Bats do not attack people. They are afraid of humans, viewing us as predators, and will avoid us when possible.

Myth: Bats suck blood.
Fact: Bats do not suck blood, however vampire bats do exist and they do drink blood. Only 3 of the more than 1200 types of bats are vampire bats. Vampire bats lick the blood of cows, chickens and other animals and live in Mexico, Central and South America.

Myth: Bats are pests.
Fact: Bats are not pests, they actually help control insect pests. An individual bat can eat thousands of mosquito-sized insects in one night. Bats are critical components to many ecosystems because they help control insect populations, pollinate flowers and fruit bats aid in seed dispersal.

Myth: Bats are dirty.
Fact: Bats are very clean and groom themselves just like cats.

Myth: Bats are ugly.
Fact: This is more a matter of opinion, but many people find that bats are unique and cute, looking very much like dogs and foxes. Visit the Bat Zone and meet some of these amazing animals to see for yourself.

Find more bat facts on our website!

© 2012 Organization for Bat Conservation