30 Species Of Bats That Look Too Bizarre To Be Considered Bats
Even if the current events that have shaken our lives lately have made you think otherwise, bats are really amazing animals. First of all, they are the only mammals that can fly and they are exceptional at it! Also, one-quarter of all mammals are bats. There are over 1,300 species of them, so you can only imagine how many of them are residing on the earth. And if you think that all those creatures are up to no good, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, many of them make our planet a bit better for everyone to live on. For instance, bats are excellent pest exterminators. Thanks to their habit of snacking on various insects, they help farmers reduce pesticide use. Scientists have estimated that bats in the United States save somewhere between $3.7 and 54 billion in pest control services every year. Fewer pesticides mean less environmental pollution and more food produced for us.
If that’s not enough to make you appreciate bats, there’s more. Many of the bats out there eat nectar and by doing so, they pollinate plants. As it turns out, they pollinate over 700 plants and we use a lot of those for medicine and food. Furthermore, fruit bats are also responsible for seed dispersal, which helps to regrow forests. Researchers estimated that one square meter of the rainforest floor on average may contain 12-80 bat-dispersed seeds each year. Let’s not forget that scientists have studied the chemical from vampire bats’ saliva and used it to develop medicine that helps humans who suffer from blood clots and strokes.
Another impressive fact about bats is that these flying mammals can lead long lives. One of the reasons why is because they are able to tolerate viruses, but they carry a lot of them. Bats have been considered patient zero of many viruses affecting humans, such as Ebola, rabies, and the SARS-CoV-2 strain of the virus which causes COVID-19. Although it’s easy to think that we’ve found the culprit of all our misery caused by the pandemic, bats aren’t really to blame. According to the epidemiologist and bat researcher Sarah H. Olsen, we can only blame ourselves. “The bats themselves are not to blame for COVID-19. Viruses circulating in undisturbed wild bats pose no threat to human health. The cause of this spillover is related to human behaviors and activities that breach natural boundaries,” the scientist said.
While it still remains unclear how the virus began to spread, we know one thing—it didn’t happen without human intervention. According to scientists, disturbing animal habitats is usually what causes the transfer of zoonotic diseases (those passed from animals to humans). Increasing contact with wildlife may lead to even more deadly zoonotic diseases. So, as long as we stay away, bats pose no threat to humans.
However, if the risk of deadly viruses is not enough to make us leave them alone, there’s another one. Some of these mammals are creepy as hell. From haunting vampire bats to odd-looking horseshoe bats, these animals are set to spook even the bravest ones. If you’re ready to get to know the not-so-cute species of bats, scroll down below for the list!