Creatures of Fear: Hungry Little Bats

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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:

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About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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37 Responses to Creatures of Fear: Hungry Little Bats

  1. They does look cute only on the photos 😂😂 sorry to tell u the truth :))


  2. I think you’re probably on the right track regarding the flying in faces and hair thing. That’s just a guess though, since I fall squarely in the “bats are cute” camp. But, hey, I cuddle snakes, so what do I know? 😉


    • To be fair, I think we’d be scared of any animal that jumps in our faces without warning. I’m surprised cats have as good a reputation as they do considering how often they do that.


      • I agree: anyone has a right to panic a bit when something’s in their face without warning. It’s a shame for the bats’ sakes that the people often don’t stop freaking out when they realize it’s just a bat though.

        Regarding the cats: I actually know someone who’s not a big fan of cats because of how they get in your face. She’s convinced cats are out to steal her breath.


      • Bats really do get a bad rap. Although, it is changing a little in some areas. I’ve seen a lot of pushing towards education, which means people are learning how important bats are to the environment.

        I’m more into dogs than cats, but I’ve actually never had either. Doesn’t help that my mom and wife are allergic to cats. One thing I never understood is why cats gravitate towards those who are allergic.


      • GThat’sood regarding bat themed education.

        I don’t know about the cat thing. Maybe for the same reason smoke from cigarettes always seems to drift towards the non-smoker of the group, even if it seems impossible that it should do so due to wind direction?


  3. I love bats! We get a lot of them where I live. I love to watch them flitting about in the summer twilight.


  4. Bats are beneficial, they eat mosquitoes and other bad bugs. Our chances of becoming hurt by a bat are much smaller than developing Zika or even malaria thanks to mosquitoes!


  5. I’ve always liked bats. I remember I was maybe 10, and one of my classmates brought in a fruit bat baby in they were nursing as part of a wildlife group because it had fallen from a tree. It had a nappy on and its poo looked like hotdog mustard. You can’t be scared of something with hotdog mustard poo.
    Regarding the ‘fear’, I agree it has a lot to do with the modern take on the vampire mythology. Perhaps also the thought of being in a cave, which is already a dark, enclosed space and having thousands of bats suddenly swarm you might work its way in there somewhere. Imagine, you are stood, cold seeping in through your clothes, creeping against your skin, you hear a rustle, a chittering that gets louder and louder, the air pressure begins to change, a stench wafts up around you from all the droppings on the floor; then there is a wild beating in the darkness, things touch you, perhaps little claws catch your skin, drawing blood, while wings, soft like eyelids slide across your mouth, your nose…that could be scary.


    • Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of mustard poo. Always grossed me out. Good points on why people fear bats, especially the cave issue. Though, I’ve always wondered if fear of bats came before or after the vampire myth.


  6. Yes. I admit it. Nighttime bats make my skin crawl. I would not one landing on my face for sure.


  7. It flies and lives outside…that’s enough for me. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  8. L. Marie says:

    I live in an area where bats appear–mostly in old houses. They’re seen as more nuisances than anything.

    One night a friend of mine felt something brush her cheek. She turned on the light and saw a bat flying around her room.


  9. Bats are fine outside, but when they get inside a house and really start squeaking to navigate, that’s where they get spooky. They always swoop toward you too, that doesn’t help either.
    I think most of our fear of bats really comes from how they use echo location instead of eyes to see where they are flying and seeking food. Maybe if they were more like owls and hoot instead of squeaking we’d like them more.


  10. I don’t understand this fear, either. Bats are definitely so-ugly-it’s cute to me. I also don’t get why people are afraid of owls and think they foretell doom. To each their own (phobia).


  11. I actually love bats so much I toyed with the idea of building them a house in the garden (also, they can eat a few thousand mosquitoes on a daily basis, so there’s that). I had to give up on the idea when one of our cats brought me a tiny bat he’d caught as a gift and I realized that what I called bat-house, my cats would call fast-food joint.


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