inOctober 23, 2012 - 4:37am
"My Vintage Garden” celebrates gardens and flowers in antiques, collectibles and jewelry. Included are intriguing historical information, curious bits of folklore and a few useful gardening tips. Flowers have inspired art and design since ancient times, and their beauty, symbolism and sentimental meaning make our treasured collectibles even more precious.
As Halloween comes around again, I feel compelled to write in defense of one of nature’s most maligned creatures, the bat. How can such a harmless creature deserve such poor reputation?" My bat-awareness came about some years ago when my son’s 4th grade class adopted an animal at the National Zoo. They chose a bat, and promptly named him “Scott”. Then came a flood of bat information, complete with bat homework, a bat science project and ultimately a bat house in the garden.
Allow me to dispel some of the evil rumors about this shy nocturnal creature:
Bats Suck your Blood –You are safe. There is a vampire bat, native to Mexico, Central and South America. They prey upon cattle and other farmyard creatures. They do not like the taste of human blood, and rarely bother people. Vampire bats do not actually suck blood. The bat makes a small cut in the skin of a sleeping animal with their sharp teeth, then laps up the blood from the fresh wound. The bat's saliva has an aesthetic in it, so the animal does not feel anything. The bat drinks only a teaspoon of blood, but there is a danger of secondary infection in the open wound, so measures are taken to protect animals in the areas inhabited by vampire bats.
Bats have Rabies – Less than 0.5% of the entire bat population of the world carries the rabies virus. Bats that do have the rabies virus are not aggressive. You are far more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a rabid bat. You should, however, avoid contact with any wild animal. A frightened animal may bite, whether it has rabies or not.
Bats get Tangled in Ladies Hair – Why would they do that? The only possible explanation for this belief is that bats occasionally fly close to a person's head while hunting for insects.
Bats are Blind - All bats can see, even though vision may be less important than other senses. Some bats have evolved a highly sophisticated sense of hearing, called echolocation. They emit sounds that bounce off of objects in their path, sending echoes back to the bats. This sense allows them to pinpoint the exact location of their prey. Most fruit and plant eating bats rely on vision and sense of smell to locate food rather than sonar.
Bats are Dirty – Bats spend much of their time grooming themselves and each other. Bats seldom transmit disease to other animals, much less humans.
Bats are Useless Pests - Bats eat plenty of mosquitoes – those pesky vampire insects who really do suck your blood. A single bat can eat up to 3000 insects in evening. An average sized colony can eat up to half a million insects every night. Mosquitoes and biting insects do carry diseases, such as Nile virus, yellow fever and malaria. The bat is your protector!
The vast majority of bats are insect eaters, but fruit and pollen eating bats are also a vital part of the ecosystem. They aid in the fertilization of plants and the scattering of seeds. Certain tropical plants, such as bread-fruit, mangoes, cashews, dates and figs rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal. In reality, bats are pretty amazing. The fear of bats is only fear of the unknown. The more we know about them, the more we can appreciate this mysterious night-time flyer.
In China, bats are a symbol of happiness and good luck. They are the only mammals capable of true flight. With extremely elongated fingers and a wing membrane stretched between, the bat’s wing anatomically resembles the human hand. Almost 1,000 species of bats can be found worldwide, making up a quarter of all mammal species on earth. One of the slowest reproducing mammals, bats give birth to only one baby in a year.
Bats do occasionally get into the house – they are lost and afraid. Often, if you turn out the lights and open a nearby door or window, they’ll find their own way out. If not, throw a towel over the bat, gently scoop it up and take the bat outside.
Thanks to the “spooktacular” shops below who allowed me to use photos of their bat items, and a Happy Halloween to all.
Carol Barrett Jewelry - Boxwood Bat Pendant
Le Bling - Fun Halloween Charm Bracelet Pumpkin Bat Witch Moon Boo
Valerie Ivory Antiques - Sterling Silver Bat Pendant Necklace
Antique-ables - Most Unique Fairy Tale Die Cuts
Vintage Jewelry 4U - Antique 19th Century Framed Color Bat Prints - Grouping of 3
Vanity Lady - Halloween Candle Holder French Flying Bats Theme Quite Wonderful
The Steffen Collection - Antique Chinese Copper & Beijing Glass Box
Mendocino Vintage - Old Chinese Three Color Cut Glass Overlay Snuff Bottle W Bats
Written by Suzan Miller
Suzans Treasures on Ruby Lane
About me: I have had the Ruby Lane shop “SuzansTreasures” for over 12 years. I have been involved with antiques and collectible business all my life, as my mother, grandparents and great-grandmother all had antique shops. I also have a life-long love of gardening. I am a member of several gardening societies and am a qualified flower show judge.