First off, happy birthday to my hombre.
So in honor of that–or rather just because–today’s topic is bats! Not like the kind that the St. Louis Cardinals are using to pummel the SF Giants like they were in a Melky Cabrera-esque steroid induced rage. No, we’re talking the kind that is more or less a flying rat. Which is way less scary than a flying spider.
A quick over view of bats: They hurl through the air at high velocities raining death down on all those who dare defy them, they motivate orphans to become superheroes, and one in four is actually just a vampire in a hurry.
Now is the fun part where I go do some real (READ: Wikipedia) research and then come back to correct my mistakes. Okay back. Turns out most of what i told you is wrong.
First off, bats aren’t mice with wings even though the British apparently call them “flittermice” and the french call them murcielago–which translates to ‘blind mouse’ if my source can be trusted (which I’ll just be a true journalist and assume yes).
As it turns out, bats aren’t really like anything. They’re more cats, dogs, and alpacas than anything else, but with more wings than all of those other animals combined. They also bear no relation to birds, being mammals and all, and actually fly in a different manner that makes them way more maneuverable and agile in flight. This has lead some people–namely me–to refer to them as “Nature’s TIE Interceptors.”
To further complicate things, there are over 1,000 species of bats, making nearly a quarter of all mammalian species some kind of bat. If that doesn’t terrify you then think about it this way: using the vampire statistic from before, nearly 6.25% of all mammal species are vampires.
Okay so that’s not true because that would infer that every species was equally distributed. Also, it turns out most bats are NOT vampires at all. In fact, only one bat–the VAMPIRE bat (proof, finally!)–even eats blood. About 30% of their peers eat insects, and the remaining 70% of “megabats” somewhat disappointingly eat only fruit.
So why do bats get such a bad rap and lumped in with all the scary ghosts and ghouls of Halloween? Two things. First they are nocturnal and just hang out during the wee hours of the night. If you don’t think that things that only come out at night are scary, go to your local city and compare night time subway dwellers to day time commuters and tell me I’m wrong. Reason 2 is rabies, a disease that many animals can contract but bats always get singled out as typical carriers. If you don’t know what rabies is, read Cujo. It’s essentially a technical manual for diagnosing and treating rabies. If you don’t want to do that, it’s basically a disease that turns you into a water-fearing, bloodlusting death machine. Be happy its more of a concern in bats than bears.
POSTSCRIPT: I’ll be travelling the next three days and I’m not too certain what kind of internet access we’re looking at, so I may or may not be absent until Thursday, when I will delight you all with a Three-fer post! Now with that promise, I bid you adieu until I can let everyone down later in the week.
- Campers targeted by vampire bats (upi.com)
- Experts skeptical of vampire bat claim (mysanantonio.com)
- Ravens fans may have been exposed to rabies (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Lunar phobic bats dodge moonlight (bbc.co.uk)