Bats tend to live more off reputation than actual facts. From vampire tales and Dracula to horror films and urban legends, these flying mammals are feared far beyond what they are actually capable of doing. However, with their nocturnal habits, less than appealing faces and tendency to flock in large numbers, bats often cause anxiety in most people and it should be noted that bats do pose threats, just not the blood-sucking vampire type of gore that popular fiction promotes.
Coming into contact with a bat is something you are better off avoiding. Bats have teeth and will bite if it feels threatened. Bats are known to carry several potentially dangerous diseases including rabies, Australian bat lyssavirus (ABL), leptospirosis, salmonella and histoplasmosis. Bats don’t even have to bite to pass along painful and harmful diseases. In the case of histoplasmosis, the disease is passed when people walk into bat cave and inhale dust that contains dried bat feces. When the dust is kicked up, people inhale the infected dust and the disease affects the lungs causing coughing and flu-like symptoms.
The most common disease known to be spread from bats is rabies. Bats have passed rabies along to dogs, cats and humans through bites. While few bats carry babies (estimated 0.5%) they do account for the majority of rabies cases in the United States. In other parts of the world, bats are believed to be possible carriers of the Ebola virus, one of the deadliest on the planet. People in Connecticut can breathe a sigh of relief since the chances of being bitten by a bat with Ebola is near impossible but it does highlight the fact that bats can be dangerous and as a rule it is always best to leave these creatures alone.