Oct 31, 2021 - News

This Halloween, learn why bats aren't so scary

A large flying fox bat hanging upside down, wrapped in its wings

A large flying fox at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Photo: Amanda Carberry/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Though bat decorations are a staple during spooky season, there's no reason to be scared.

October is Bat Appreciation Month, so Axios asked the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for facts about the misunderstood mammals and why they matter.

🧛 Most don't drink blood. There are more than 1,400 different species of bats, 11 of which are in Ohio. Around 70% are insect eaters, while 20% eat fruit and nectar.

  • There are just three vampire bat species, found in Central and South America, and they don't actually suck blood — they just puncture skin and lap it up like a dog drinks water.

🦟 They're free pest control for farmers, eating millions of bugs every night.

🍹 No bats, no tequila. Bats are pollinators for many plants, including agave, bananas, peaches and cashews.

The bottom line: The zoo houses two fruit-eater species, the large flying fox and little golden-mantled flying fox, in its Asia Quest region. They're both "near-threatened" due to habitat loss and hunting.


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