The more I look into bats, the less I understand the fear. At first, I thought it was because they were associated with vampires. That might not be the case as I look at people talk about it. Also, bats were chosen for that mythos for a reason. Not like I can judge considering my issues with spiders. A flying mammal is definitely unique, but there is a difference between bats and the previous entries. I mentioned the ancient human’s fear of venomous animals creating an instinct in modern humans. That works for snakes and spiders, but bats aren’t venomous. They don’t even attack humans like the other two. So, what is it about these guys that makes so many people shudder?
Let’s get to the elephant in the room, so we can shove it out the door. Many people are afraid of getting rabies from bats. This is a common fear, which one can’t really fault a person for having. First, I’m getting info from THIS SITE. The thing is that bats contract rabies less than other species with the number being less than 1/2 of 1% of bats being carriers. Yet, it is true that human rabies cases are more commonly caused by bats because they are smaller than animals like raccoons and skunks. A person is more likely to try and handle a bat that is acting funny. This is an oddity in this fear because it seems we’re more scared of them when they’re in flight than when they’ve landed. So, what could be the reason for that?
Best I can come up with is we’re terrified of things flying in our faces or getting stuck in our hair. Bats get it worse than insects because they have leather wings and teeth. They can barely break our skin with their teeth, outside of the vampire bat, which means there’s no real threat. Still, nobody would want a flailing animal getting getting on them in the dark. Humans don’t like the dark to some extent anyway, which is why we put lights up along roads and turn them on in our homes. Add that with the concept of a leather-winged critter unexpectedly landing on your face or in your hair. Now, you can get an idea of some of the fear.
Yet, this really doesn’t feel like enough. Perhaps it’s just ancient misunderstanding that has continued due to modern fiction. Someone heard the odd sounds and saw the bats in the dark. It wasn’t a bird or an insect, so it got the imagination going. Maybe farmers kept catching vampire bats on their livestock and came up with the vampire mythos. This is not as believable though since I’m sure the animals are named after the legend. Actually, from what I can find, bats weren’t added until Bram Stoker. That means I just countered my own idea and am going in circles.
All I can really do is guess here. Why do people think the bat gets associated with horror and fear? Is it all because of vampires?
Besides, these guys are far too cute to be scary: