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Rescues Work To End Stigma By Sharing How Adorable Bats Really Are

Amy Pilkington 16 May 2020

Bats get a bad rap. Like, it's not their fault nature decided to make them the perfect vector for many diseases. They just want to fly around, eat insects that humans find irritating, and leave behind guano that's a ridiculously good natural fertilizer.

And yeah, the whole hanging upside-down in dark places can be kind of creepy.

That said, these little flying mammals are also kind of cute.

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I mean, they check many of the boxes in my Entirely (Un)scientific Taxonomy of Cuteness.

They are small and fuzzy, which is very important, and their eyes are unusually large in proportion to their heads.

However, they are not round. They are actually quite thin and knobbly, which contributes to why some people find them more creepy than cute.

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But rescue organizations like Bats Queensland are working to highlight the cute and positive sides of these important creatures.

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Regardless of where your opinion falls on the spectrum of creepy-cute, bats are very important parts of the ecosystem and the stigma created by some of the myths about them hampers attempts to protect them from danger.

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For example, a single brown bat can eat as many as 1,200 mosquito-sized insects per hour.

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Imagine what mosquito season would be like without these guys, and they are especially important in places where mosquito-borne illnesses are common.

Another common fear about bats is rabies.

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But it turns out that there have only been 10 documented cases of people getting rabies from a North American bat in the last 50 years.

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Additionally, people fear that guano is "poisonous". It is true that a fungus can grow on bat droppings, that can cause histoplasmosis in humans when spores are inhaled.

This is why if you have bats roosting in your attic or a shed, it's important to have them safely removed and their droppings cleaned away thoroughly.

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However, it is not a reason to destroy their natural habitat or panic if you see one taking a rest break in your backyard.

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Of course, if you plan to go into their space, such as with cave diving, be sure to wear proper respiratory protection.

So where do you fall on the cute-creepy scale with bats? Personally, I think they're pretty cute, but when they spread their wings, my creepy meter tingles a bit.

h/t: Stuff You Should Know, Wildlife Removal USA

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