Happy Halloween: Creatures of the Night

It’s Halloween night, and scary sights lurk around every corner.  Ghosts and goblins, werewolves and witches, villains and vampires—all these frightful figures are so dark and spooky, especially during this haunting holiday.  Well, as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) reports, there’s one creepy creature that’s been getting a bad rap.

Sarah Barnes, wildlife diversity biologist with ODFW, says that bats have been unfairly portrayed as scary or dangerous.  “Nothing could be further from the truth,” she says. “Bats play an important role in a healthy ecosystem.”

For instance, bats eat disease-carrying mosquitos as well as other insects that can potentially damage plants or crops.  ODFW claims one small bat can eat up to 1,000 tiny insects an hour.

Photo: ODFW

Photo: ODFW

Bats also have a number of myths associated with them, the most common being that all bats have rabies.  In reality, cats and dogs are far more likely to carry rabies than a bat, especially if it’s one of the 15 species of bat native to Oregon.

Additionally, myths about bats sucking your blood, getting tangled in your hair, or turning into vampires are simply untrue as well.

Barnes does caution, however, that like any other wild animal bats may bite in self-defense if they are not treated with respect and left alone.

It’s unlikely you’ll see any live bats flying around this Halloween (most hibernate this time of year), but if you do, now you know not to worry.  Though, there are plenty of other creepy-crawly things to be afraid of tonight, so having a hand-held LED torch nearby is probably a good idea.

For more information about bats, read the full article and links on the ODFW web site.

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