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November 2, 2012

Bats don't deserve their bad rap

Black cats and bats, ghosts and goblins, haunted houses and creepy sounds all are associated with Halloween. Originally, it was All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve, a harvest festival. But somehow it became a festival of the dead with pagan roots.

Maybe that’s why bats and black cats have such a bad reputation. It’s been a superstition that a black cat crossing your path is bad luck, and bats _ well, they’re just plain evil.

I remember when I was a kid playing outside in the evening and the bats came out of the upper barn window to feed on insects. My mother told me to be careful because they’ll get in my hair.

What! Bats aren’t bad.

Alright, they hang upside down to sleep. And they look a little creepy with their webbed wings wrapped around their bodies. They slightly resemble an evil henchman in a black cape, but that doesn’t make them second class animals. Bats are really amazing.

But they’ve earned the similar reputation to snakes. Not many people have liked them ever since Adam ate the apple in the Garden of Eden, but they are helpful creatures in nature.

Anyway, back to bats.

There is a lot of misinformation concerning bats.

You’ve heard the expression – bats in your belfry or someone is batty. Wait a minute, where does insanity fit into this picture? Every church steeple had bats living up in the rafters. It was just a natural place to hang out. Maybe it’s because they sleep right through the ringing of those massive bells every day that people think they’re crazy.

And what about being blind as a bat? Bats have eyes and can actually see quite well. They cannot see color, but they see very well at night. Many bats use a type of radar called echolocation to find flying insects while feeding.

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