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Bats Myths and Facts


MYTH - Flying-foxes are dirty animals
FACT - Flying-foxes are exceptionally clean animals and they invert or hang right side up in order to avoid soiling themselves. During hot weather a mother bat may urinate deliberately on her young to help cool it down.


MYTH - Bats suck your blood
FACT - Blood-sucking, or Vampire Bats, are only found in Central and South America. These small bats weigh less than 50 gms. Their main prey is domestic livestock, particularly cattle, goats and fowl.

MYTH - Bats live in caves
FACT - While a large proportion of Australian microbats do live in caves, many microbats will choose to live in tree hollows, roofs of houses, telephone junction boxes, sheds, rolled up beach umbrellas. In fact microbats may live anywhere that can provide stable conditions, protection from weather, predators and safety.

MYTH - Bats are pests and serve no purpose in our environment
FACT - Flying-foxes and Blossom Bats play a vital role in the out-crossing of pollen and in seed dispersal in our native forests. It is estimated that a single Flying-fox can disperse up to 60,000 seeds in one night. Without bats our forests may become genetically weak, may not be as diverse in number of species and most likely would not survive many generations without bats. Microbats are capable of eating their own body weight in insects each and every night. They are excellent natural controllers of moths and mosquitoes, and without microbats insect populations would become enormous.

MYTH - Blind as a bat
FACT - Bats are not blind, not even the microbats, although they do not rely heavily on sight as much as Flying-foxes do. Flying-foxes have excellent eyesight (20 times better than our own!) and can see up to 1 kilometre at night. Many of our native trees have evolved to have light coloured blossoms and fruit which are highly visible to Flying-foxes on dark nights.

MYTH - You can catch Lyssavirus from touching bat droppings
FACT - People will NOT be exposed to Lyssavirus when Flying-foxes fly overhead, when they roost or feed in garden trees, or even from touching their droppings. Lyssavirus can only be transmitted through deep tissue bites or scratches.

MYTH - Bats get tangled in your hair
FACT - Bats are all good navigators and naturally fearful of humans so even an accidental collision is most unlikely.

MYTH - Bats are cold and clammy to touch
FACT - Bats are warm, fuzzy and in fact quite cute! Their wing membrane is not dissimiliar in feel to the skin of our own eyelids.

MYTH - Bats are the only mammals in the world without an anus(!)
FACT - Bats are placental mammals with exactly the same excretory organs as ourselves. Due to their rapid digestion (approximately 20 minutes) and their inability to digest fibre, bats will chew the fruit they eat, extract the juice and spit out the remains. The silly myth about bats excreting from their mouths is simply a misinterpretation of this behaviour.

MYTH - Flying-fox droppings strip paint from cars and houses
FACT - Bird droppings are actually more corrosive than flying-fox faeces. Soaking the stain with a damp rag is the easiest way to remove it. Unless the paint is old or peeling and the faeces is washed off promptly, no permanent damage should result from a bat leaving it's calling card.
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Megabats and Microbats: Bats Myths and Facts
Bats Myths and Facts
Bats Myths and Facts
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Megabats and Microbats
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