PORTLAND, Ore. – Snakes, spiders, rats and bats get top billing on Halloween. But are bats really the ferocious blood-sucking creatures that scary stories and movies would lead you to believe?
Oregon Zoo Animal Curator Amy Cutting helped KATU News debunk some common bat myths.
Myth: All bats are blood-eating vampires.
“For one thing we don’t have any vampire bats here,” Cutting said. “They’re native to Africa and those are bats that will land on a cow and will make a small incision and lap up the blood. So they do in fact eat blood, but typically from cows.”
Myth: All bats carry rabies.
“People do associate bats with rabies and that’s a reasonable fear,” Cutting said. “It’s a very small proportion number of animals that turn out to be rabid, so you never want to touch a bat or pick up a bat.”
Myth: If you’re caught in a swarm, bats will get tangled in your hair and attack.
“I think people think that because they think of them as blind and they can’t see where they’re going and they’ll crash into you,” said Cutting.
The largest bat in Oregon only weighs about an ounce, according to Cutting.