Bats are interesting creatures. Most people don’t know a whole lot about bats until one gets loose in their house and they turn to Google! Some common questions we get asked are: Do bats attack humans? Are bats blind? Do bats migrate? There are many more questions we get asked daily, but we also get asked about bat myths. Have you heard the one that says that bats will leave your house if you leave the attic lights on? Could it be that simple? Well, bats are as complex as they are interesting. Keep reading, and we will discuss some common myths about bats.
Bats Are Blind – Myth
This is a very common myth when you are talking about bats. Bats are in fact NOT blind. Bats can see quite well! When bats go out to feed, it’s important for them that they have good vision. Think about it: they are swooping through the night air to catch insects. How many times have you tried to swat a fly or mosquito and missed? When bats “miss” that insect, it’s missing part of his/her meal! Not only do bats have an amazing sense of sight, but they also use their ears to help guide them. Bats use echolocation to locate food and navigate when flying. Echolocation is using sound waves/ vibrations to locate insects and other objects as they fly. If you’ve ever heard a bat, then you know they make a high-pitched, screechy, chirpy sound. When bats fly, they are emitting those high-pitched sound waves, which serve as another set of “eyes” for the bats. So, to clear things up, no, bats are not blind. Bats can find their way around, even in the pitch dark, much better than most humans!
Bats Get Stuck in Hair
I’ve been working with bats for a few years now, and I have never heard of a bat getting caught in someone’s hair. I’ve heard of people waking up to a bat on their pillow or in the sink, but never entwined and “nesting” in hair. If you fear bats, then the one thing you can take comfort in is that bats are terrified of humans. Bats want nothing to do with us—except to live in our houses for free and poop all over the attic.
When a bat gets loose in a house, its goal is to find an exit as quickly as possible. It may seem as if the bat is swooping around you or “attacking” you, but really that bat is scared and frantically flying to find a way out! Keep that in mind in case you ever encounter a bat. The next time you encounter a bat, open windows and doors to give the bat an easy exit. Don’t worry; it won’t be looking to get stuck in your hair!
All Bats Have Rabies – Myth
Another well-known myth is that all bats have rabies. Not ALL bats have rabies. Even though bats are a species that can carry rabies, that does not mean all bats do. To put it in perspective, only about 1% of the bat population carries the rabies disease. That doesn’t mean that rabies is any less dangerous of a disease.
Rabies is a serious disease that can be fatal if it is not caught in time. If you are ever exposed to a bat scratch or bite, you should seek medical attention immediately. It’s possible to have the bat sent off for testing to see if it has rabies. When a bat is tested for rabies, some of its brain material is taken as a sample. Unfortunately, that means the bat will need to be humanely euthanized. Bats don’t mean us harm, but when they are sometimes scared, their only defense is to scratch or bite. Not all bats have rabies, but if you encounter a bat scratch or bite don’t wait to see a doctor. Go in immediately.
Bats Hate Light
Have you ever been sleeping and had someone turn the lights on or shine a light in your face? Did you wake up? Probably. Did you move out of your house when someone turned a light on or shined a light in your face when you were sleeping? No, well neither will the bats. When bats move into your house, they are not going to leave willingly. The safest method to getting bats out is by sealing up the exterior of the house and using one-way valve devices to get the bats to exit. It’s true that bats are nocturnal and are active during the night. However, they won’t explode or drop dead when they are in sunlight. They simply keep flying or doing other “bat” things. Bats are nocturnal because it’s a better time to feed and it’s safer. If you’re looking into DIY bat removal, leaving the attic lights on won’t work.
Bats Only Live In the Attic – Myth
I’ve had many calls about bats in basements, bedrooms, bathrooms, and even washing machines. How did they end up there? Bats are much more invasive than you may think! Did you know that bats can fit through dime-sized openings? That means it doesn’t take much for a bat to find a way into your home. Bats must enter the house high up along the roofline. The reason for that is because bats need to drop into flight. Bats cannot take flight from the ground.
Once bats move into an attic, they can burrow in insulation for a safer, warmer place to roost. As the weather changes it can get too hot or cold in the attic area and the bats will travel to a more comfortable location. Often the bats will end up finding their way down the wall cavities and into an unfinished basement area. When bats are in a basement flying, they can work their way to living quarters. Some other strange places people have found bats are in toilets or washing machines. The reason people find bats int those areas is because bats are thirsty and looking for water. IF the bat accidentally falls into the water or gets trapped, it cannot climb the smooth edges to get out.
All Bats Migrate in Winter – Myth
Imagine flying south to warm, summery weather instead of staying in a place where when you walk outside the cold hurts your face. Some bats are smart and leave; other bats will hibernate in houses, other structures, caves, etc. over the winter. Bats will begin looking for shelters to roost in when the weather starts to cool off. As the weather cools, the number of insects decreases and bats don’t need to come out to feed. Bats will hibernate in a shelter until spring. There is nothing that can be done to get bats to leave a home during the hibernation season. The safest method to exclude bats involves the bats leaving with their feeding cycle. We can get things in place so the bats will leave sooner in the spring!