Is this really a Halloween Horror? Bat charity urges us to think again about the winged wonders of the night

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Is this really a Halloween Horror? Bat charity urges us to think again about the winged wonders of the night

NO Vampires here…

British bats are killers – but only munch mozzies, moths and other insects! They don’t drink blood and they don’t get their five a day – though 1/5 people we surveyed believed they ate fruit!

This Brown Long-eared bat is a native of the UK. All 17 resident breeding species of British Bats are protected at Law. Their numbers declined dramatically during the last century due changing land use by people. The Bat Conservation Trust is urging people to reclaim the Fright night for real bats this year and have a downloadable free party pack with ideas and templates and some suggestions for fundraising for bats this 31st of October.

Bat Facts for Halloween

There are over 1200 bat species in the world of which only three are Vampire bats – they are found in South and Central America … not in the UK, not even in Whitby!

The first recorded Horror story Vampire to turn into a bat was Count Dracula, in  Bram Stoker’s 19th century novel – long associated with the supernatural this is the first link between bats and vampires though according to  much older gypsy and Indian legends vampires can transform other creatures, including horses and chickens!.

Rather than drink blood, British bats drink water and eat insects. A tiny pipistrelle can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night.

Helpful not horrible: Things we get from bat-adapted plants include dates, vanilla, bananas, breadfruit, guavas, Iroko timber, balsa wood, sisal, Tequila and chewing gum!

Sharing, caring Vampire bats are one of the few mammals known to care collectively for one another. They will regurgitate and share food with other bats who haven’t found a meal – what makes them really special is that they do this even for those bats in the colony to which they are unrelated.

Vampire bats saliva contains anticoagulant which prevents blood clotting. It is being researched to see if it may be useful in treatment of human conditions.

Bats are more closely related to humans than they are to mice.

The majority of the world’s bats eat insects – just like British bats. In the tropics bats also eat foods like fruit, flowers, frogs, fish, other bats…and those three species of vampires? Well they do lap, but not suck blood! They feed on animals like cattle using heat sensors in their noses to find the artery and choose where to bite.

British bats leave the partying to their paper and plastic cousins – by Halloween most of them are usually tucked up hibernating for the winter – though if it’s mild you may be lucky and find one fluttering out the dark!

Heather McFarlane, Bat Conservation trust:

“Bats are not just a Halloween decoration, they are an important part of Britain’s wildlife. Bats are magical mysterious creatures but they are nothing to be scared of, in fact due to habitat loss and persecution, bats really need our help to survive. So give bats a treat this Halloween by doing something batty to raise money or making a donation and help protect this much maligned mammal.”

Free Halloween party pack with ideas to download available at

Experts and bat carers are availalble for interview about all things Batty in the run up to Halloween. Photo Copyright Peter Crome/Bat Conservation Trust

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