Bats play key roles in ecosystems around the globe, from rain forests to deserts. They eat insects, including some that can cause lots of damage to farms and crops. They pollinate plants and they scatter seed. Studies of bats have contributed to medical advances including the development of navigational aids for the blind.Unfortunately, many local populations of bats have been destroyed and many species are now endangered. The best protection we can offer these unique mammals is to learn more about their habits and recognize the value of living safely with them.
When people think about bats, they often imagine things that are not true. Bats are not blind. They aren t rodents and they aren t birds. They will not suck your blood — and most bats do not have rabies. Because bats are mammals, they can develop rabies, but most do not have the disease.
You can t tell if a bat has rabies just by looking at it; rabies can be confirmed only by having the animal tested in a laboratory. So be safe; never handle a bat.
- Page last reviewed: April 22, 2011
- Page last updated: April 22, 2011
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