The swooping, black bat is a common symbol of this holiday, and many people are terrified by the thought of encountering a bat at night.
Despite their spooky image, bats are far from terrifying. No matter what urban myths you’ve heard, bats really donít want anything to do with your hair. They aren’t flying rodents, donít build nests or breed like rabbits, and they don’t want to be trapped inside your house any more than you do.
In fact, the scariest thing about bats is how quickly they’re going extinct. That’s right, a deadly disease known as†white-nose syndrome (WNS) is devastating hibernating bats across the country.
First discovered back in 2006, WNS was named for the mysterious white fungus that appears on bats. WNS has killed more than 5.7 million bats in eastern North America. So far, WNS has led to a 99-percent drop in northern long-eared bat populations in the Northeast US, which is why the US Fish & Wildlife Service proposed to protect them as endangered just earlier this month.
Rather than being scary or dangerous, most bats perform an absolutely vital service for our ecosystem:†The thousands of insects they eat each night save farmers millions of dollars on insect control and crop damage.
Check out the infographic below to learn more scary facts about what’s happening to our bat populations, and then check out this page on the USFWS website for more busted bat myths.
Top image via andy_tyler