Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Wildly Wrong Animal Stereotypes

        Animals | Animal Facts

9
Bats Will Try to Attack Your Hair
This bat actually looks cute -- and it won’t attack your hair. PlazacCameraman/iStock/Thinkstock
This bat actually looks cute -- and it won’t attack your hair. PlazacCameraman/iStock/Thinkstock

They're furry. They can fly. And they're actually kind of cute. Bats may get bad PR, but they do a lot of good. They pollinate all kinds of fruit trees and consume thousands of biting, disease-spreading, crop-destroying insects in a single night [source: Fears]. And no, they will not get tangled in your hair. So how did this myth originate?

Maybe it's because they fly and many people consider them ugly, thus attributing all kinds of mayhem to them. Bram Stoker's novel Dracula introduced the idea of bats transforming into vampires and included a passage about a vampire bat draining all the blood from a mare, despite the fact that vampire bats are very small, live only in Central and South America (not Transylvania), and need no more than two tablespoons of blood each day [sources: Miller, Mulvaney.]

Bat World Sanctuary speculates that any bat swooping near your head is most likely making a beeline (or is that a batline?) for a mosquito hovering right above you. And since the vast majority of bat species eat only insects or fruit, they have no desire to wrap themselves up in your hair. Bats are excellent navigators, using both eyesight -- they're not blind, either -- and sophisticated echolocation to avoid objects as thin as a fishing wire, like your hair. One researcher tried to get bats to tangle in his hair, but they avoided it [source: Sophasarun].