The truth about bats – Amy Wray

Flying through the night,
I watch over this world, a silent guardian, a watchful protector,
a dark knight, I’m… Okay, fine. So, I’m not Batman.
I’m just a bat. But like Batman, I’m often misunderstood. People think I’m scary,
strange and dangerous. If they only knew my story, though,
I’d be cheered as a hero. When people think of bats, many think of vampires
who want to suck their blood. But the truth is
that out of over 1200 bat species, only three are vampire bats. Out of these three,
only one prefers the blood of mammals, and even these bats mostly feed on cattle. Maybe that still doesn’t seem so great, but vampire bats
can be a great help to humans. A chemical known as desmoteplase
found in vampire bat saliva helps break down blood clots, and is being tested
by recovering stroke victims. Of the remaining 1000+ species of bats,
about 70% feed on insects. These bats help control
the real vampires: mosquitos, whose nasty bites
are not just annoying but spread diseases, like West Nile virus. A single little brown bat
can eat 1000 insects every hour, and a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats
can eat several tons of moths in just one night. In the United States alone, bats provide an estimated
3.7 billion dollars worth of free pest control for farmers, which benefits everyone
who eats the foods that they grow. Fruit bats, also called megabats
because of their large size, are important for the role
they play in plant pollination. By traveling between flowers
while feeding on nectar and fruits, these bats transport the pollen
and seeds that help plants reproduce. In Southeast Asia, for example, the cave nectar bat is the only pollinator
of the durian fruit. Other bats pollinate peaches, bananas, and the agave plants
that tequila is made from. Without them, many of our food plants would be unable
to produce the tasty fruits we enjoy. As heroes of the ecosystem,
bats have their own unique utility belts. Bats have been a source of inspiration
for the design of flying robots and even an energy-efficient spy plane, as they are the only mammal
capable of true powered flight. Echolocation, a type of biological sonar,
is also used by bats as a way to navigate and find prey in the dark. Although there’s a common
misconception that bats are blind, in truth, all species of bats have sight. And some have even adapted
large eyes to see better in dim lighting. Many people worry
about getting infected by bats, and like any other animals,
bats can carry diseases, like rabies. In reality, though, less than .5% of all bats
carry this virus. That’s about the same odds as getting
the same result on a coin flip eight times in a row. The perception that bats
are often diseased may come from the fact that sick bats, who may show unusual behavior,
emerge during the daytime, or be unable to fly, are more likely to be
encountered by people. So a good way to protect yourself
is to protect bats as well, keeping them healthy,
protecting their habitats, and reducing their risk
of transmitting disease. In North America, bats are threatened
by a devastating sickness called white-nose syndrome. This fungal infection
causes bats to wake up while hibernating during a winter. Unable to find food,
they expend large amounts of energy, and eventually starve to death. White-nose syndrome has wiped out
entire caves full of bats, with a mortality rate that can exceed 90%. Climate change and habitat destruction also pose serious threats
to bat populations. For example, in January 2014,
a record heat wave in Australia caused over 100,000 bats
to die from heat exhaustion. Some people just want
to watch the world burn, and bats all over the world are threatened
by damage to the places that we call home, including mangrove swamps, old-growth forests, and, of course, bat caves. So even though I’m the hero of the story,
I do need to be saved. And now that you know
the true story about us bats, you can learn how to protect
such heroic animals. Install a properly designed bat box, one of the easiest ways
to provide shelter for bats. Discourage the use of pesticides,
which can harm bats when we try to feed on the insects
you want to get rid of in the first place. Avoid going into caves
where you might disturb hibernating bats, and always decontaminate
your gear after visiting a cave. If you have unwanted bats
living in an attic or barn, contact your local government
to safely and humanely relocate us. And if you come across a bat,
do not attempt to handle it, but instead, call Animal Control. Batman might want to keep
his identity secret, but a great way to help real bats
is by continuing to learn about them and spreading the truth
that they are real heroes, even if their good deeds are often unseen.

100 thoughts on “The truth about bats – Amy Wray

  1. One time, my friend told me when he was a kid he saw a bunch of other kids throwing rocks at a bat and not letting it escape, he said it was from his childhood so he can't remember most of the story.

  2. To TedEd,
    Some of these fruit bats carry a Virus that has affected Southern India for a while. This virus, called NIPAH has been caused due to victims accidentally consuming fruits or vegetables nibbled by fruit bats. Could you research on how these fruit bats carry or form up this virus?
    It is quite important as the Victims of NIPAH virus couldn't be cured, and died horribly. The end result for such victims was so inhumane, that bodies had to be burner to avoid the risk of the virus to be airborne.

  3. This is great for those who are reading this save bats and not only bats each and every animal because if any species become extinct none of the organism will be able to survive. Please share this message

  4. True story I wrote a paper for my physics class about echolocation and we had to submit our paper theses to the professor. After I told him mine, this girl in my class was like "oh you must really like Batman". After explaining the multiple benefits of bats ( I grew up in Central Valley Ca with hundreds of miles of farmland) she looked at me like I was speaking in Greek. My professor was fascinated that I knew about bats being used as organic pesticide methods.

  5. One day I was in first grade,and me and my friends were in the gym.We were running across the gym, and we saw a bat,just lying there.So my teachers,ya know, THE PEOPLE THAT ARE TRYING TO MAKE ME SMARTER,just put the bat outside,IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY.
    I’m not joking,when we saw the bat,WE WERE PLAYING A GAME WHERE WERE BARS AND FLYING AROUND.

  6. Bat, You ARE A REAL HERO!
    I'll just go build myself a bat home for my bat friends

  7. yep they are the real heroes for world annihilation
    ( i am talking about corona virus obviously )
    used by the god of death to spread fear, cries and sorrow in the world
    and i like it

  8. Interesting video, i love the way they explain animal subject in symbiose with Batman theme

  9. Bats are also the resovoir for loads of viruses. But their habitat serves as a barrier to prevent the diseases from escaping

    There are loads of bats in mu neighbourhood i just run and hide when i see then

  10. LOVE this! Love our world's bats! I remember that bat sonar is so powerful, they can see a single HAIR on a person's head, so… where ever they got the myth of bats flying into people's hair, I'll never know! =/

  11. Heroes? I don't mean too sound so rude but don't bats carries deadly viruses, that have been effecting humans? Like ebola, sars, and Corona?

  12. Bat : “If only they knew my story, though, I’d be cheered as a hero”

    Corona Virus : Allow me to introduce myself

  13. At present moment world is suffering as bats also bring CORONA…If we fail to find antitode not sure weather after few years anyone would be left to read it.
    BATMAAN save us…

  14. corona virus pandemic brought me here to better understand bats are not just disease carriers. they have a role in the ecosystem too.

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