Creatures theme

Insectivore, frugivore, & a few carnivore mammals that truly fly with their hands, not just glide. The smaller ones have sophisticated echolocation.


Alternate name: Chiroptera

The first video game about Bats was released in 1980.

Konami, Sega and Activision has published most of these games


In videogames, bats or bat-like creatures are typically associated with the horror genre and will always attack the protagonist despite being a weak enemy. They are depicted as larger than most bat species, black, and much tougher. Surprisingly vampire bats are rarely emphasized as blood drinkers unless they are of the shapeshifting vampire variety and even then its their human form thats the vampire and main character. Like most real bats, videogame bats will roost by hanging upside down from a high dark place until disturbed.

Chiroptophobia is a fear of bats.

Real Bats
Some species eat nectar or pollen. Vampire bats are known for drinking blood out of large mammals. One Only 3 bat species out of over 1,100 are blood drinkers. The leaf-nosed bats will eats small vertebrates including frogs and rodents. The bulldog bat eats fish. The Spectral Bat and the Ghost Bat eat smaller bats. The Greater Noctule bat eats birds. Many species of plants, including ones that humans use for food and medicine, are dependent on bats to remove their nocturnal insect predators where as birds would never encounter the same insects in their daytime only feeding.

Flying Rats
Bats are not rodents. Science claims they might be related to primates, but this is disputed. Bats have one way valves in their blood veins like other mammals but they also have valves in their arteries. This allows them to do anything comfortably in any position including flying and hanging upside down without affecting their blood flow.

Blind as a Bat
Most bats have good eyesight and the larger species have excellent eyesight. The phrase "Blind as a Bat" is a misnomer as no bat is blind. The species that use echolocation certainly depend on it more than their day vision, and require it for night time hunting and flying. Smaller bats are nocturnal and while they can hunt during the day they could also be eaten by predatory birds which rarely hunt a night (with the notable exception of owls). Bats generally fly in order to hunt, rain severely hinders echolocation, so bats rarely fly when it raining. Their echolocation is for generally navigation as well as for hunting, so a night-time rain is the least likely time for a bat to be out in the open.

Hanging upside down in dark places
Absolutely true. When they are not hunting they are usually perched upside down in a den, cave, or other enclosed dark space. Bats do not mind perching in human made structures, such as chimney that is not in use. This is a way that bats can errantly end up in people's homes. Some people block their unused fireplaces inside to allow the bats to use their chimney without risking an unexpected house guest. But the must be willing to tolerate bat chatter. Some people, especially crop farmers, build bat houses to encourage a local population of the insect eating critters. Abandon buildings with high exits, attics with vents or holes, or just regular barns can be inviting habitats for bats. Some species of bats will hibernate during cold weather in their dens. Many bats are social and gather together in these dens.

Tough bats?
A bat has tiny fragile yet flexible bones that are high in cartilage. Their wings are basically skin between their flexy finger bones and while they are easily torn they will also heal quickly like any other mammal's skin. However, they are very fragile. They might even die from drastic changes in air pressure. Swatting too hard at one with the intent to miss and scare it off can still harm it because of the change in air pressure.

Hair tangles
This is mostly myth. Bats avoid humans. Even vampire bats will flee from an alert, moving human. However, if there is a insect in the vicinity of a human (for species that eat insects, which is most), they may risk a close approach (as many birds will also do). If a particular bat is accustomed to humans it might even snatch and insect off the person as they easily have the skill and maneuverability to do so no matter where the insect is located (only humming birds are as skillful, but they don't eat insects). If this ever happens, be gratful, the bat may have just saved you from a mosquito, flee, or tick. Snatching insects explains the vast majority of the rare and supposed 'hair tangles' in which the bat never even contacted the person. Under normal conditions, a bat can 'see' (using echolocation) and avoid something as small as a single human hair in total darkness. Scientists have designed experiments to educe hungry bats to fly through stands in order to get at a tasty bug. They just won't do it, they see and go arround the strands; even when the strands are moving they don't lose track of them. But for unknown reasons, there are rare cases of echolocation bats flying into a person's long hair and returning repeatedly even when removed multiple times. There has never been a recorded case of a tangle. These bats simple collide with the hair and, very rarely, sometimes land on it (probably taking time to figure out what just happened). They will most likely fly away immediately as soon as the realize the hair wasn't what they were looking for. Again, this hardly ever happens. In fact, scientists still claim it never happens. I, zerothis, will say I have witnessed it happening to a park ranger no less. These do not seem to be cases of diseased bats as no bites or diseases have ever resulted from a 'hair tangle' and witnesses have never described a sickly perpetrator (sick bats don't fly). The common theory (again, scientists refuse to admit the occurrences) is that there is some sort of confusion in the bat's echolocation that causes it to mistake the long hair for insects (Bats without echolocation do not do this). If this happens, (and the bat doesn't leave immediately), victims are advised not to panic, do not grab or strike the bat, as this would scare the bat and conceivably provoke it to bite (which has never actually happened). There is a small risk of disease in touching a bat. Also it may not be able to fly away and leave the victim in peace if its fragile wings become damaged. Gently shake your hair and the bat will flee. If need be, remove the bat gently with an object being careful not to hurt the wings. No echolocation bats have enough bite to penetrate a work glove. As soon as it is off, cover your hair to hide it and prevent the confused bat from returning (the hair and not the person seems to be the target of these confused bats). Check yourself for bites (again, no 'hair tangle' has ever resulted in a bite) and see a doctor. Direct skin contact with a bat can transmit rabies and the bat could be carrying it without being sick so see a doctor. Again, no case of rabies has ever resulted from a 'hair tangle'.
Interestingly, praying mantis will also, rarely, repeatedly land on a person's hair. Maybe we should be looking for rare invisible insects that take up residence in human hair :) Or maybe it's lice?

Dirty Bats
Bats groom themselves meticulous, like cats. They are just as clean.

Ugly Bats
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think some bats are cute and a few others agree with me. They maneuver in the air beautifully too. But the most beautiful thing about bats; they eat tons of mosquitoes.

Smart bats
It takes a general minimum of intelligence to know how to fly. Bats seem to have more than enough to maneuver much better than birds, even being able to flying upside down (which can even disorientate big brained humans who don't have to thinking about which way to flap their hands). One species can even scoop up water from a river surface, keep it for a while, and then drink it, all while flying. Bats have been observed to have sound patterns associated with behaviors. This is comparable to a domestic cat's ability to communicate with 19 vocalizations combined with body language except the bats have 100s of vocalizations at least and much less body language. Bats have been observed calling to each other by a unique sound pattern, akin to individual names. It seems that in a crowded colony, one individual can direct its communication to another amongst the all the other chatter.

No bats have ever inflicted significant harm to a human other than carrying diseases. It is possible that vampire bats have taken a few licks of blood from a sleeping humans, but they are not able to suck blood and wouldn't take enough from the victim to be noticeable. A person can lose more blood from a paper cut, with is a lot more painful. Most tiny vampire bat bites go unnoticed, which suits the bat just fine. About 0.5% (one-half of 1%) of North American bats do have rabies at any given time (and are a few days from death if they do). Bats with rabies quickly become too sick to fly and instead will crawl and flop along the ground. Sick and disoriented bats with rabies sometimes find their way into human contact where they may bite a person who attempts to catch them. Rarer still, a disoriented bat could crawl on an infant, mentally handicapped person, intoxicated person, sleeping person, or otherwise incapacitated or motionless person and subsequently be provoked into bitting. Bats have very small teeth and a bite could unnoticed in an incapacitated person. They are the 2nd leading source of rabies in North America which is an extremely rare occurrence to begin with and the bats' contributions pale in comparison to the dogs'. Infact, in the entire history of the US, only 40 cases of rabies have ever been attributed to bats. Bats are confirmed to carry SARS but never have been confirmed in transmitting it to people. But infants and elderly that contact bats should be checked. Fruit bats can spread henipavirus through urine to domestic animals that can spread it through saliva to humans. Direct physical contact with a bat can transmit rabies and the bat could be carrying it without being sick yet. So it is always a good idea not to handle bats and especially not let your skin contact them directly.

Weapons of Mass Destruction!?
Well, it was attempted but never carried out during WWII. The idea was to make a bat bomb (seriously, keep reading) which amounted to a mobile bat den that could be loaded onto and dropped from a plane. The female Mexican Free-tailed Bats would be artifically induced into hibernation and a 28g incendiary device clamped to them before hand. This only amounted to about half their cargo capacity, as they are able to fly while holding their juvenile twin babies if they have two. A 17g device was made for the whimpier males that still gave them plenty of maneuverability. Once 40 bats were safely in the portable den and no longer in hibernation, the bat bomb with parachute would be pushed out of the plane and descend slowly in the pre-dawn hours with the bats still trapped inside. At a given altitude, the den would shed its outer layer, freeing the bats just before the break of dawn. They would leave the falling den seeking a secluded dark place to hang, such as in eves and attics of enemy buildings. In Japan, many buildings were made from paper and wood. The pre-dawn drop meant they would have very little time to be discovered before they sought a hiding place. Bats could navigate just fine in this lack of light. Starting at a high altitude meant they would disperse over a wide area and into many different buildings. A timer in all the devices would ensure they simultaneously dropped off the bats and ignited in high up dark corners were fire was difficult to be effectively smelt or seen or fought until it was fully burning. The initial series of drops would have used 41,600,000 bats. One quarter of the Mexican Free-tailed Bats in Texas at the time? The feasibility and effectiveness of this plan was accidentally proven when bats with live packs prematurely escaped one of the dens before a test run. The Auxiliary Army Air Base in Carlsbad, New Mexico was not primarily wood and paper. Soldiers retrieved most of the bats in time to disarm the devices. The army knew what to expect and how to stop it. But some of the bats took shelter in and inaccessible area under a fuel tank! Several bats where maimed or killed and the base was destroyed. The US Army was done with the project and it was shuffled through other branches and red tape until the US Marines got it. In tests, the parachuting dens would release their bats and they would fly into buildings of a full sized Japanese village replica carrying the unarmed version of the incendiary pack (they would not be given live ammo until again the final test). Soldiers would find the all the bats in their hiding places. It has been suggested (but not documented) that bats were given rewards for finding the best places to start fires. However, some dens' parachutes or opening mechanisms failed and many of the bats inside died on impact. Finally a full test with live packs was carried out. The replica town was reduced to ashes. At this point in history a conventional fully loaded bomber could start 400 effective fires in a square mile in Japan. Estimates for a bomber loaded with bat bombs was 4,748 effective fires in a 40 square mile area. But it turns out there was a more effective and reliable way to totally destroy 1 square mile and start all 4.7 square miles of an area on fire instantly instead of just in spots and there was little chance of them being put out. As a bonus, about 80,000 to 140,000 lives were guaranteed to be lost by the other method; where as the bat bombs gave most people a chance to escape the fires. The bat bombs were canceled and atomic bombs were used instead. At least it can still be said that no bats have ever inflicted significant harm to a human.

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