3 rumors about bats dispelled for Bat Week 2018

SALT LAKE CITY — Some of them want to suck your blood, but none those are in in Utah thankfully. We're talking about bats!

According to Wild Aware Utah, 18 species of bats call the Beehive State home, and even though bats may have a creepy reputation, experts say these insectivores are vital to our ecosystem.

"We see a lot of those insects as pests, and so those bats can eat up to about 1,000 mosquitoes per hour," said Melanie Kuse, lead keeper of ambassador animals at Utah's Hogle Zoo.

You won't find them in a coffin. Utahns will most likely see bats roosting in buildings or attics, or gliding smoothly through the night sky.

"Their wings are pretty cool because they have very small bones throughout their wings and the rest of it is just a really thin skin flap, so they can glide really well," Kuse said. "They can twist and turn and maneuver in some pretty crazy ways."

Here are the top three rumors about bats that experts say are just that.

1. Bats will suck your blood.

"Those bats that might have a little bit of blood in their diet, again, they’re not out to get you," Kuse said. "They're just looking for food. They're looking for food in places where there is livestock or other animals that may be injured."

2. They're blind as a bat.

"Actually bats have really good vision," Kuse said. "Since they're active at night, you would think that their vision wouldn’t be that great, but they do use that vision to find their food. They also use echolocation."

3. All bats are rabid.

"The chances of a bat in the wild having rabies is actually very slim," Kuse said.

But the real question is, if they bite you, will you become a vampire?

"You will not become a vampire if you get bitten by a bat," Kuse said. "But if you do get bitten by a bat, you should seek medical attention."

Even though Halloween is the perfect time to see the silhouette of a bat flying across the light of the moon, experts say it's not likely here in Utah. Due to the cold weather, bats in our region are either hibernating or have flown south for the winter.