Bats: Friends or Foes?

Bats: They're the only mammals that can fly, and they often spark fear when they come in contact with humans. But are bats truly a threat, or are they misunderstood — or both?

Bats are known to carry viruses that are harmful to humans, including rabies, which can be easily transmitted through minor bites or scratches. They often enter homes to seek shelter, and in 2010, rabid bats were documented in 49 U.S. states. Despite the staggering statistics, however, bats play a very important role in the earth's ecosystem.

The Doctors
' stage goes "batty," as Rob Mies, bat expert and founder of the Organization for Bat Conservation, showcases several species of the winged creatures. The Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC) is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to providing the resources to protect endangered bats through live animal programs, community education and collaborative conservation partnerships.

"One of the greatest things [about bats] is that [they] eat tons of mosquitoes. Bats are the primary predators of nighttime insects," Mies explains. "One bat, by itself, eats about 2,000 to 6,000 insects every single night. Fruit bats are one of the best animals for the rainforest, and that's because fruit bats spread seeds in the forest. They also pollenate plants," he adds.

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