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Wild Things: Bats

Pavlo Maydikov/istockphoto.com
Pity the poor bat: If ever an animal has suffered from the effects of spooky superstitions, ghoulish myths, and plain ol’ wives’ tales at the hands of scaredy-cat humans, this is the one.

Luckily, though, the bad bat rep has improved dramatically in recent years. Conservation groups have done a remarkable job in cleaning up the bat’s sinister image, spreading the word that these shy little mammals really aren’t intent on entangling themselves in your hair, or—that Halloween favorite—sucking your blood. They’re actually beneficial, insect-devouring critters who should not only be appreciated, but—gasp!—encouraged. Homeowners eager to put a dent in their local insect populations have gotten the message, with many now quick to nail up bat houses in the fervent hopes that these flying mammals (who can be a little picky about placement) will choose to roost in their backyards.

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