Bats Are Not Rodents and Not Blind!
by Amalia Fung-Jenkins, age 12
You may have heard the phrase “blind as a bat.” This phrase is very misleading as bats are not blind. Many people don’t know much about bats and there are plenty of misconceptions surrounding these unusual species.
One common misconception about bats is that they are blind. However, they are not blind. Most bats see just as well as—or better than—humans. Fruit bats have special eyesight that can help them see in low light, similar to cats. They also have color vision.
Many people think bats carry rabies, but this is not true either. Like all other mammals, bats can catch rabies, but less than one-half percent of bats get the disease. More people die annually from interactions with household pets than have died from handling bats in all recorded history. Even though it is not likely that you could get sick from touching bats, that does not mean you should touch them, because they are wild animals. Touching them with bare hands is especially dangerous because grounded bats have a higher chance of being sick.
You may have heard that bats are vampires. Most bats are not vampires, in fact there are only three species of bats that are vampires. These bats live in Latin America. Vampire bats are quite small. According to Bat World Sanctuary: “Vampire bats are very small (about the size of a package of M&Ms).” These bats are not violent towards humans, and they do not like our blood. They prefer blood to drink blood from other animals such as cows or horses.
You may have wondered: are bats rodents? Well, they aren't. Bats are Chiropterans (this means “hand-wing”).
As you can tell, there are many myths and misconceptions about bats. Now that you know the truth about bats, make sure not to touch them, especially bare-handed.
[Sources: Britannica; Current Biology; Bat World Sanctuary]