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Bats

Bats are flying mammals that have a rather unique appearance which many people find ugly or frightening. Because bats are nocturnal they have an automatic association with things that are dark and evil. Bats are the only mammals that are capable or true flight. Although most bats eat insects and some eat fruit, a few bats will dine on blood, which led Bram Stoker to write that they could be transformed vampires.

Bat's, being nocturnal, never evolved powerful eye sight. This is made up for by their exceptionally good olfactory and hearing senses. Many bats use echolocation; a means of shrieking and listening to the echoes to discern where they are in relation to their surroundings. This natural radar is so powerful they can even hunt for small insects with it. The night-time shrieking, of course, only makes them seem even more scary to the easily frightened city dweller.

Urban legend has it that bats try to entangle themselves in people's hair, which of course is foolish. Bats, like most animals, don't attack people unless they feel threatened. More likely they're trying to eat the insects that fly around people. Either that or they really like the feel of hair baths.

Because they are active at night, emit high pitched shrieks, look creepy, and drink blood, most cultures give negative connotations to the bat. Many Native American tribes attributed the bat as a trickster spirit. Of course, anything that seems to be evil eventually gets associated with Halloween, and bats are no different.

However, not all cultures view bats as evil. In western African countries bats are sacred animals thought to be the physical manifestation of souls. The Chinese give the bat attributes of longevity and good fortune. In the United Kingdom bats are an endangered species and protected by the government.

Links
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat - Bats on Wikipedia.
batcon.org - Bat Conservation International.