Bat myths are certainly prevalent since bats are mysterious creatures of the night. When Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, was published in 1897, bats were portrayed as dangerous animals. As horror buffs, we are all fascinated with his tale about how Dracula turns into a vampire to fulfill his thirst for blood. Bats inspired Dracula, Stoker’s timeless masterpiece, but his work also created bat myths that still exist today.
Since bats are eerie, hang upside down and make strange noises in the night, many people are frightened of bats. All of these fears are simply based on bat myths. In fact, some bats can become so tame that they can be kept as pets, but this is not recommended. As pets, bats live only six years. In the wild, bats can live an average lifespan of 30 years.
Not at all destructive to the environment, bats actually help agriculture. Many bats are insectivorous, and they eat the pests that damage the crops thus reducing the need for pesticides. Bats help save the US from 3.7 billion to $53 billion per year since they help save crops without the use of pesticides. Nectar feeding bats are pollinators. There are 500 species of flowering plants that rely at bat pollination that takes place at night. Rainforest plants also depend on bat pollination.
In addition to helping protect our planet, bats are one of the most fascinating mammals. They are the only mammals that can fly. When bats hang upside down, they are roosting. While some bats are solitary creatures, others live in colonies of more than one million. The smallest bat in the world is the Kitt’s hog-nosed bat, which is also called the bumblebee bat. The largest bat in the world is the giant golden-crowned flying fox. Traveling at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour (99mph), the Mexican free-tailed bat is the fastest bat in the world.
Since bats are symbols of Halloween, it is ideal that Bat Appreciation Month takes place in October. With their unique form and shape, bats have inspired countless of Halloween decorations as well as costumes. Bats are one of the inspirations behind the popular character of Batman. Since Halloween is a holiday that celebrates night and all its mysterious creatures, bats fit right into the picture since they are nocturnal.
One of the best ways to celebrate Bat Appreciation Month is to visit The Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. Transformed into a bat cave, it serves as a home to nearly 1,500,000 Mexican free-tailed bats. Every year 100,000 tourists come to see the bats. If you are fascinated by bats, do book a trip to The Congress Avenue Bridge to see the spectacle of an evening sky filled with bats.