Halloween gives bats a bad rap and the MassWildlife Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, as well its Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, want to remind you that Bat Week is upon us. So let’s sink our teeth into some myths that surround this misunderstood creature. Are bats as scary as we think they are?

Jennifer Longsdorf wrote a piece in Massachusetts Wildlife debunking the myths surrounding bats. The biggest myth is that bats are looking to suck your blood.

“Most bats are insect-eaters and they consume large numbers of blood-sucking mosquitos,” Longsdorf said. “Only three of the more than 1,300 bat species in the world are vampire bats, and they lick the blood from non-human animals.”

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Instead, bats got caught up in the vampire legend and caused people to mistakenly believe they are evil creatures.

“These fascinating flying mammals play a critical role in our environment and many bat species are in decline,” said MassWildlife. Nine species of bats call Massachusetts home, and five of those are considered endangered due to threat likes habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change.

I’ll admit, I’m guilty of being scared at the thought of a bat coming anywhere near me, but the truth is, they are extremely misunderstood. MassWildlife continues to put forth an effort to keep the bat community thriving.

Last year, MassWildlife launched a new effort to “construct and install bat houses to raise awareness about the important roles bats play in our environment.” Since last year, 30 bat houses have been installed in wildlife management areas, with more to be installed in the near future.

If you are suffering from a swarm of mosquitos and bugs every year, add a bat house to your backyard. They will take care of insect, mosquito, moth, and beetle problems. Think of a bat house as your own personal pest inspector.

For Bat Week, pair your midnight fictitious ghost stories with some facts about these misunderstood mammals. They aren’t as scary as they seem.

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