Neighbourhood
Bat Watch

Bat myths

Bats will fly into your hair and get stuck: False

This was an old myth that was used to deter young girls from going out at night. The myth was that if a young woman went out at night, a bat would fly into her hair and get stuck. In reality, bats are not interested in flying into your hair. They may fly close to you in search of insects but their amazing use of echolocation will prevent them from landing on you.

All bats carry rabies: False

In reality, less than 1% of bats are infected with the rabies virus. Bats that are infected with rabies will demonstrate strange behaviour and are often found lying on the ground. Rabies can be fatal for humans and other mammals, and care should be taken not to touch bats. Even dead bats can still harbour the rabies virus and should not be touched. If you are bitten by a bat, you should wash the wound with soap and water for 15 minutes and call the number associated with your province: in Quebec: Info-Santé - 8-1-1, in Ontario: TeleHealth - 1-866-797-0000, in Manitoba: Health links - 1-888-315-9257. Because rabies virus can be transmitted to dogs and cats, it is important to vaccinate pets.

Bats are really just flying rodents: False

Like rodents, bats are also mammals but they belong to the order Chiroptera, whereas rodents like mice belong to the order Rodentia. Unlike rodents, they are not a nuisance.

All bats are blind: False

All bats in Canada use echolocation to navigate and find food, but they can also see and have well developed eyes.

All bats are blood feeders: False

Only three species of bats feed on blood and those that do, live in tropical habitats (Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Argentina). The majority of bats feed on insects, fruit or nectar.


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