12 Bats Who Refuse To Be Terrifying

Bats get a bad rap. From Dracula to dark caves, they've been firmly classified in the "terrifying" category of our imagination. Just don't tell that to these guys, who are more cute than blood-curdling. Bats are the only mammals who can truly fly, and with over 1,000 species worldwide, they make up a quarter of all mammal species on earth. Don't they deserve a little more respect?

1. This flying fox may be one of the largest bats in the world, but don't let that scare you - these bats are vegetarians. Flying foxes dine mostly on fruit, nectar and pollen.

(Flickr: Shek Graham)

2. Who me, spooky? Ghost bats are named for their incredibly thin, transparent wings - but at only about 4 inches long, they'll have a hard time haunting anyone.

(Flickr: S J Bennett)

3. Tent-making bats are more cuddly than creepy. These little guys build tents out of large leaves, giving them a cozy spot to wait out tropical rainstorms.


4. This teeny Honduran white bat is aptly named - according to the Rainforest Alliance, their color makes them difficult to spot in leaves when the sun shines through.


5. As far as sharp-toothed cave dwellers go, Commerson's leaf-nosed bats aren't much to worry about. They use those pointy teeth for crunching on beetles, and their guano (or droppings) provides an important source of nitrogen to their ecosystem.


6. The pug dog of bats, the vampire bat has a face that's more goofy than gruesome. Depending on the species, they feed on the blood of either birds or mammals. But for the most part, these bats stick to wild animals and livestock, and don't often bite humans.

(Flickr: Mark Dumont)

7. A desert long-eared bat's strange features extend past his gigantic ears - females of this species are the only known mammals to have two pairs of pectoral mammary glands.


8. This friendly-looking guy is a white-shouldered bat who was briefly detained on Grand Cayman. His captors glued a tiny radio transmitter to him, as the white-shouldered bat is incredibly rare, and released him back into the wild.

(Flickr: Wilson Bilkovich)

9. Pallid bats live in arid climates from Canada to Mexico, and when it comes to a terror-free environment, you might actually want to have them around - they eat scorpions.

(Flickr: devra)

10. The scariest thing about a Mauritian tomb bat is his name, which is completely misleading - these bats typically roost outside in trees. Here, this mama bat is giving her pup a ride.

(Flickr: Frank Vassen)

11. This sleepy Livingstone's fruit bat is a megabat and can have a wingspan of over 4 feet long - but like most giant bats, they subsist mainly on fruit.

(Flickr: charliejb)

12. Mexican long-tongued bats like to work the night shift at the hummingbird feeder, and they provide more service than spook - they're important pollinators for several species of cacti.

(Flickr: Ken Bosma)

This week is National Bat Week - for more on how you can help save endangered species of bats, check out batconservation.org