"They're creepy and they're cooky, mysterious and spooky, they're altogether ooky..." That line from the "Addams Family" theme song pretty much sums up most people's opinion of bats. At least it was mine, until we started studying them. Bats are not creepy or spooky. They are amazing, helpful creatures that this world would be a nasty place without. Part of bat's public opinion problem is that they are nocturnal. They come out in the dark. Darkness is associated with so many scary, evil things. Therefore, it is logical to assume that bats are scary and evil. Bats are also associated with Halloween and vampires. Let's put that to rest once and for all. Yes, there are a few species of sanguiniverous bats. That is a big vocabulary word that the kids and I learned. If you studied animals at all, then you know the "iverous" part of the word has to do with what animals eat. And, if you've studied Latin or any of her related languages you will be able to figure out that the "sanguin" part means blood. But these saguiniverous bats do not go around turning into vampires or drinking human blood. The animals they do bite are usually sleeping and are less affected by the bat than by mosquitoes. The majority of the bats we have in the U.S. are insectivores. I don't know about you, but anything that eats insects immediately is a friend of mine. If there is any creature I am not a big fan of, it's insects.
Yesterday, we had some friends over for the afternoon. The kids wanted to do some art projects. I instructed them they needed to make bats. And then I left them to their own creativities. The 10 and 11 year old boys immediately asked if Batman was allowed. "Of course," I said. They did not end up drawing Batman, but instead plain old bats. It was the scenery that went along with the bats where it got a little interesting, including alien ships. The girls and my 6yo ds had very different ideas. Their bats involved glitter. Lots and lots of glitter that ended up on the bats, the sky, my dining room table, the kitchen tile, the living room carpet. But, it was well worth it to see the resulting pictures. They took something that most people think is scary and turned it into something sparkly, shiny, and pleasant to look at. After the glue is well dried, I am going to attempt to scan their pictures without glittering up the scanner.