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Why Are Bats Associated With Halloween?

Brown bat in flight.

Bats and Halloween go together like — well — candy and Halloween. The world’s only flying mammal gives most humans a flutter of fear, and Halloween is all about thrills and fears.

Does your heart speed up when you see a bat flying outside your house? What about if you see one flying inside?

Those strange sounds coming from your walls or attic are more likely to be a bat than a ghost.

If you’re being haunted by bats this Halloween, don’t be afraid. Contact CP Bat Mitigation today. We’ll assess your situation and provide a custom bat solution. 

Bats can usually be evicted without poisons or other chemicals. A knowledgeable inspector will find the entrances bats are using to access your home. When the trespassers leave, we’ll lock the door behind them. 

We’ll even come back and check our work after 6-8 weeks. If the problem isn’t solved, we’ll keep coming back until your property stays bat-free.

Why Are Bats Scary?

Bats and Halloween go together, at least partly because most people are scared of bats. Halloween is all about turning fear into fun.

But why are so many people scared of bats? 

There are many myths about bats that have been flying around:

  • They give you rabies. Bats can have rabies, just like any other mammal. Rabies transmission to humans is rare. The CDC reports a total of 19 cases of rabies in humans in the US from 1997-2006.
    If a bat is sick, do not approach it. A bat, like any other wild animal, may bite if it feels threatened.
  • They get caught in your hair. Well, no, they don’t. Have you ever known someone who got a bat stuck in their hair?
    Bats have good vision. In addition to that, they use echolocation. They bounce sound waves off the objects around them and use the reflecting information to create a precise map.
    Bats can identify items as fine as a single strand of hair. But they use their senses to find bugs to eat, not hair. Hair tastes yucky.
    Bats are also excellent fliers. They aren’t going to run into you accidentally.
  • They’re vampires. Okay: the vampire thing. There are about 1100 species of bats. Only three (about .27%) actually deserve the ‘bloodsucker’ moniker.
    Even that is a stretch since they aren’t actually sucking — just slicing an artery and then lapping up the blood that pours out. The other 1097 species of bats? They dine on insects, rodents, and plants.
    The vampire rumor began when South American ranchers in the 1800s witnessed bats lapping up the blood of cattle. In 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula portrayed the little fliers as shape-shifting vampires. That image has stuck in readers’ imaginations for over a hundred years.

Have any of these things ever happened to you?

Probably not. 

Bats should be treated with the same respect and caution as any other wild animal, but they aren’t out to get you. 

Bats And Halloween

The link between bats and Halloween dates back to at least the 1700-1800s when many Scottish and Irish immigrants arrived in the US. 

By many accounts, Halloween (a Christian holiday — yes, really!) stemmed from the Gaelic holiday Samhain. 

Samhain (which is pronounced sow-win) celebrates the completion of the harvest. It starts at sunset on October 31st. Some accounts state the holiday ends at the following sundown, but the festivities associated with it could go on for several days.

It was a big party.

This holiday is traditionally marked by a festival full of feasting, drinking, and bonfires.

Irish and Scottish immigrants arriving in the US in the 1800s carried out the Samhain celebration in their new home.

One theory suggests that the bonfires from these celebrations drew numerous bugs. Those bugs drew bats, who had their own feast. 

Another idea was presented by Nate Fuller, a graduate student in Boston University’s bat biology program. He observed that several species of bats migrate in October and November, so this is a natural time of year for them to swarm.

Newly-arrived immigrants may have seen the migrating swarms during their celebrations and associated the animals with the holiday. 

Other Batty Ideas

Bats may be associated with Halloween in part because they are nocturnal. Animals that are active in the dark of night are often associated with dark arts and death. 

Consider also that bats frequently live in underground caves. The underground environment can be associated with burial and the underworld.

Many religions believe the spirits of the dead travel to the underworld. The underworld is under the ground — thus the name. People practicing these religions have historically buried their dead, sending their spirits closer to their final destination.

Bats Are Not Evil

Bats are the mascot of Halloween. Despite their image, bats are not out to get us. 

Bats eat the insects that harass people and damage crops. It would take about $3.7 billion in pest control chemicals to eliminate the insects that bats ingest. 

Fruit-eating bats disperse plant and tree seeds wherever they go. They are responsible for over 95% of rainforest regrowth.

Bats also contribute to plant propagation when they eat nectar. Much like bees, as they go from one plant to another for a meal, they transfer pollen to new plants. The blue agave plant relies solely on bats for propagation.

This strange little mammal has also been the inspiration for several technological advancements. Engineers have created smaller, more efficient sonar navigational systems based on the model of the bat. The ‘squirrel suit,’ an aerodynamic jumpsuit designed for skydiving, originated with consideration of the bats’ membranous wings. 

Yes, Bats Are Good For The Environment. But I Don’t Want Them In My Home!

Bats are strange, wondrous, inspiring creatures. They are also wild animals, and they can do considerable damage if they have access to your home. 

If you have found yourself hosting bats or are concerned you may have a problem, contact CP Bat Mitigation today. We’ll inspect your property and provide bat control in Omaha that everyone can live with.

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