This is Passport to Texas
Bat have been maligned for centuries.
Most people don’t know anything about them because they don’t have any interaction with them.
Fran Hutchins is with Bat Conservation International.
People know a lot about birds, and most people aren’t afraid of birds because they see ‘em all day long. Bats are flying around at night when most of us are home sleeping. And unless we see ‘em around a street light or dipping down into somebody’s swimming poll to get a drink of water—most people don’t have any contact with bats. So, what they know about them is what they’ve seen on TV. And most of the time on TV—especially if it’s Hollywood—they’re bloodsucking monsters that are flying in and dragging someone off into the tree line and sucking them dry.
There are no blood sucking bats in Texas. And of the 1300 bat species worldwide, Hutchins says only three feed on blood.
The rest of them are insect eating bats and pollinating bats, and fruit bats that are really important to us.
Hutchins adds bats are not blind, they won’t tangle up in your hair, and they do not carry rabies.
People think all bats have rabies—and they don’t. Rabies is a virus that’s out there in the environment that bats, as mammals, can get as we do. They’re not carriers. If a bat gets sick with rabies, it dies.
That’s why we never handle bats that are on the ground. They could be sick. Other than that—they are beneficial mammals that deserve our respect.
The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.
For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.