Fear of bats
Fear of bats, sometimes called chiroptophobia (from the Greek χείρ - cheir, "hand" [referring to the order of the bats], ὀπτός - optos, "visible" and φόβος - phobos, "fear") is a specific phobia associated with bats and to common negative stereotypes and fear of bats stemming from prejudices and misinformation.
Roots and misconceptions
At the same time, the fear of bats may be naturally reinforced by the natural startle response experienced by an unsuspecting person, e.g., when a disturbed colony of bats dashes out of a cave. The truth is a little more interesting as the majority of bats, specifically the microbats which make up the majority of species, are terrified of humans and see man as a potential predator; bats disturbed in their roost instinctively flee as fast as they can, with maternity colonies sometimes abandoning their babies since they are desperate to escape.
As is common with specific phobias, an occasional fright may give rise to abnormal anxiety that requires treatment. An abnormal fear of bats may be treated by any standard treatment for specific phobias. Due to the fact that the fear is not life altering, it can usually just be left untreated.
Building on the fear of bats, vampires in stories and films are often portrayed as being able to transform into bats for locomotion.
A modern example associating fear with bats in fiction is DC Comics' Batman. In many adaptations, Batman is said to have chosen to emulate bats to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. In the film Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne, Batman's secret identity, actually develops a fear of bats as a child when he falls into a cave and is attacked by bats. Henri Ducard makes a grown up Bruce Wayne conquer his fear. Scarecrow is also mentioned as being afraid of bats.
- Merlin D. Tuttle, America's Neighborhood Bats (1988: ISBN 0-292-70403-8) (2005: ISBN 0-9742379-1-4, ISBN 0-292-71280-4)
- earthlife.net: Bats and Humanity
- House Bat Management (a USGS online publ. for Greenhall, Arthur M. 1982. "House bat management". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Resource Publication 143. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online)
- Bats Northwest - a non profit dedicated to education, research & conservation
- Bat Conservation International