To talk about bats is to invoke terrifying images of creatures that live in the dark to avoid the light of day; creatures that hide in the dark and bleed their victims to death. The bad reputation of this Chiroptera Mammal, whose upper limbs developed into wings, is based on myths, superstitions, novels and Hollywood movies. Its portray as a pest and a threat that transmits diseases has generated irrational fear in many individuals.
Reality is much different; bats are by no means dangerous creatures. They carry out a vital role in the ecosystems, but also, they are of great help to humans. Some bats protect crops by eating other pests like insects that threaten could eat the work of farmers. Others feed on pollen and nectar and help spread the reproduction of plants. There are also other bats that eat fruit and that contribute to natural reforestation by spreading the seeds that are not digested by the creature. There are also a carnivore bats that helps maintain balance amongst the species in the ecosystem.
In fact, the feared hematophage bat also known as Vampire (feeding with blood) is studied by the medical field due to the anticoagulant properties of the saliva. Nevertheless, we need to admit that some do carry diseases such as rabies; however, out of the 1,250 species of bats there are only three that feed this way, which means that only few of them carry diseases.
Strangely, even the feces of the bat is good for the environment because it’s a natural and affordable fertilizer. Now that we kn
ow a little more about the role that these peculiar animals carry out in nature, maybe we can begin to appreciate them. In the end, they are not so bad.
by Lilia de la Peña