Many myths associated with bats can make people wonder whether these mammals can attack and kill a human. They are not harmful, but it is better to stay safe and away from them.
Can a Bat Kill a Human? A bat can kill a human because they are responsible for transferring the rabies virus from their saliva to the body during bites that can cause death. Some vampire bats are known to drink human blood, and a few others bite or scratch if they feel threatened.
They rarely interact with people and prefer to remain high in the air, reducing the probability of direct contact.
Are bats deadly for humans?
They usually stay away from humans and remain busy with their own hunting or foraging activities. Bats do not bite or scratch unless provoked, as they do not interact with humans.
Moreover, these mammals only show interest in insects living on the ground and water bodies as they get food from these tiny creatures.
People do not provide food and companionship, so they do not get closer to people while roaming the roads. You do not have to worry as they do not hurt people.
Sometimes, they swoop down and fly so low that they can give rise to fear among people, but their center of attention is insects or fruits, not humans.
Accidental collisions can occur between these two living organisms; otherwise, direct exposure is less likely to happen among these two creatures.
They are not directly responsible for causing significant harm to humans, but indirect damage can occur when these animals bite them.
Their saliva comes in direct contact with the body during bites, which results in the spread of rabies diseases from bats to humans.
This fatal disease involves the transfer of rabies virus, which ultimately causes death in a diseased person.
It takes 1 to 2 months to reach the brain and is virtually considered 100% fatal. So, people can die after contact with bats suffering from rabies.
Furthermore, almost 3% to 4% of these flying mammals are infected with rabies, look lethargic, and stay close to the ground, so it is better to be careful and avoid contact with them.
I learned about a case of rabies in my neighborhood many years back due to the transfer of the virus from a bat to a girl at nighttime while walking on the roadside.
Its droppings can also cause fungal contamination, which can cause histoplasmosis in humans. It negatively impacts their health and immune system and causes fatality if not treated.
Do bats drink human blood?
They do not show interest in humans and attack only insects to fulfill their dietary requirements. However, a few species are known to drink human blood for nutrition.
Vampire bats are named for their dietary habits of drinking blood from animal bodies and humans. This group includes different species, like Desmodus rotundus, Diaemus youngi, etc.
Desmodus rotundus, a common vampire bat, drinks around 2 to 2.5 tablespoons of animal blood to get nutrition. This species also bites and drinks blood flowing out of the wound.
In addition, Diphylla ecaudata, or hairy-legged vampire, and Diaemus young or white-winged vampire bats also feed on the blood of warm-blooded creatures.
Their nose has heat sensors that can help locate areas of skin containing a large blood content and bite on the specific site to drink more blood.
Moreover, these vampire bats attack other mammals, birds, cattle, and humans to get blood and ensure their survival. These are commonly present in Central and South American regions.
Furthermore, these are venomous by nature and transfer anticoagulant saliva or poison into the human body while drinking blood, posing a threat to their lives.
This venom prevents blood coagulation, allowing a constant flow of fluids from the body to serve as a continuous source of food for them.
How do you stay away from bats?
It is better to protect yourself from a bat attack as their saliva transfers the rabies virus into the body and poses a threat to lives. You can avoid this transfer by reducing the chances of direct exposure.
You can make efforts to keep them away from the house as they can get inside the attics or other areas of the house. These flying mammals hate light and avoid reaching areas with bright light sources.
Accordingly, you can hang reflective objects or CDs around the house that are usually helpful at deterring them. You can also use some repelling scents that are irritating to the nose.
They dislike the odor of cinnamon, peppermint, eucalyptus, or other aromatic smells that can be used around their nesting spots to take them out of nests.
In addition, essential oil sprays also work well against many pests and these flying mammals. Prepare a solution in warm water by adding a few drops of oil and 4 to 6 spoons of sugar.
Spray the solution inside and outside the house to keep them away as they avoid the strong odors of oil. Seal the possible entry points to restrict their undesired entries.
Furthermore, cover your bodies properly before interfering in their nests, as they can bite you. It is not suitable to kill them as many states do not allow people to kill or remove them.
So, you can contact pest control companies to deal with the bats as they are trained to deal with their colony legally.
What types of bats are dangerous?
Most commonly, bats do not cause harm to humans as they fly higher in the air and live on trees and caves. They do not interact knowingly and only collide accidentally.
These mammals do not show aggressive behavior toward humans, but a few species live in urban areas and are known to bite them.
The vampire bats are somehow dangerous, as their name indicates they mimic vampires and drink blood. So, they are dangerous in terms that they transfer diseases through saliva.
They do not attack people frequently as they can survive on other animals and birds for food. In addition, horseshoe bats also carry viruses and transfer them to other organisms.
Moreover, they are natural reservoirs of pathogens or viruses, but their direct contact with humans is rare, so the risk of virus transmission is also low.
Some people are afraid of giant species like greater mastiffs and gigantic flying fox bats that are around 18 to 22 inches and 8 to 12 inches long.
These are considered dangerous for their bigger bodies and are commonly present in China, India, Texas, California, etc., occupying various habitats.
Furthermore, their bites are not dangerous, but their ability to carry and transmit viruses is dangerous, like lyssavirus and those responsible for rabies.
So, it is better to remain at a distance from these mammals and avoid contact to protect yourself from deadly diseases, as bats are hosts of many viruses.
Do bats touch human hair?
A common myth about bats is that they are attracted to human hair, but it is not true, as these flying mammals do not find them attractive.
This myth arises from the incidents when people observed them flying above the head and colliding with their bodies. Some bats entangled with the hair but freed themselves quickly.
However, it can occur unintentionally or accidentally when these nocturnal creatures leave their nests at night and navigate the urban areas.
Moreover, a few people disturb their roosting places, which results in flying behavior over the head aggressively.
A few incidents are reported by people that these flying mammals do not leave human hair until a thunderstorm or any other frightening situation occurs.
All these are common myths about bats, but they avoid interacting with humans or hair on their heads, as they have nothing to do with hair.