Bats Contribute, So Help Me

June 2nd, 2011

When night falls, if I happen to be sitting on my patio, I typically hurry indoors as the bats start whizzing overhead. These winged creatures live near me. My neighbors have a bat house and a large lot with many trees. If you’re interested in building a bat house and scaring your neighbors at night, visit National Wildlife Federation for directions. ; )

You don’t have to linger long on this blog to discover that I’m an animal lover. I’ve always had a hunch that bats do great things for us, but I’ve also been turned off from them.

Part of my fear is logical. And there’s a small part of the irrational mixed in there too.

Not all bats carry rabies. But we can’t really walk about with rabies testers either. I’m always intrigued by strange health stories. So, I’m very aware that bats, with their tiny teeth, have bitten doomed people who had no idea of their affliction. So, you don’t really want to sleep with your window open. I also know that you must treat rabies exposure quickly, or there’s little hope for survival. Most deaths from rabies in the U.S. and Canada are attributed to bites from bats.

Me revealing I’m a little crazy

Even if getting rabies from bats in my back yardis very unlikely, it’s not impossible. What is impossible is the whole idea of bats being associated with vampires. As a kid, I slept with my long hair wrapped around my neck to discourage vampire bites. I’m all grown now, and I know that vampires aren’t real (even if some teenagers want them to be). I suspect that part of my bat fear is connected on some level to my past fear of vampires.

How bats help

As you know, I care a great deal about taking care of the earth. Bats are helpful creatures, so I should want them around. They pollinate plants, disperse seeds and control insect populations. One bat will eat thousands of nasty mosquitoes each year. Plus, a bat is the only mammal that can fly.

I’m starting to think that my fear of bats is getting out of hand, so I invite you to make fun of me. Just yesterday, something flew out of the hanging basket I was watering in daylight. It scraped my ear a bit and seemed to have wings. Most likely, it was a moth or bird, but I can’t seem to get the idea out of my mind that a bat touched me, even if it was during the day!

Are you afraid of bats? Do you have words of wisdom to combat my silliness?

(image via wikimedia commons)

2 Responses to “Bats Contribute, So Help Me”

  1. Jennifer on June 6, 2011 2:16 am

    I wish I had a pet bat! I LOVE them. They’re so flipping cute. At the Oregon zoo (in pdx) they have a great bat exhibit and the babies, each year after being born, are so adorable. In Humboldt lots of people had bat houses, and since we lived off the coast near some cool bat-friendly trees, we had a ton of beach bats flying around. At night you could watch them. I love em. Plus I think they eat spiders – go bats!

  2. Peggy on June 7, 2011 12:10 am

    Haha. Yeah, they’re good insect eaters. You would hate my house lately. I’ve found lots of spiders! Home Depot recently started carrying EcoSmart Home Pest Control. I picked up some today since it’s supposed to repel ants and spiders, as well as many other insects. I’ll do a review eventually after we’ve had time to see if it works.

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