Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles If you think of a bad, you might picture something scary. Or maybe movies reinforced a misconception. You're as blind as a bat. Exactly. If there's a bat nearby, it must be ready to attack. And if there's one, they've got to be thousands. Whatever the thought, it's often not a positive one. But what if so many of these beliefs about bats just aren't true? And in reality, we need bats way more than they need us. Paths represent the second largest group of mammal species in the world, just second to rodents. There's over 1400 species. They are by far the most diverse group of mammals. This diversity can be seen in their diets the way they move, whether or not they migrate or hibernate on, especially in their physical characteristics. You will see bad that have huge years, tiny years, big eyes, little eyes launch now that shorts now that huge baths, tiny but on each bad is different than what they do in the environment. The roles may be different, but the impacts are positive. That's a really important to our everyday lives, for several main reasons. One is that they help control pests, insect populations. Pests that are tasty meals for bats can be incredibly detrimental to us. Some can kill us. Others destroy our food, which impacts the economy. That's also pollinate lots of different plants around the world. And then finally, a lot of bats eat fruit and help disperse the seeds and help regrow places like tropical rainforests. So that's where good. And perhaps we haven't been so great at giving them credit. But what made them the villain? Let's start with the word vampire. That's right. If we're talking about bats as villains thing, we have to bring up this guy. But vampires come from European folklore, describing a corpse that rises from the dead and feeds on human blood. Not a bad. So to figure this out, let's start here and rewind. Along comes Hernan Cortes. The first night that Cortez and the soldiers spent in Mexico. There were these little animals that fly at night on. Then they land on the horses, and then they bite them on eat their blood. Thes, bloodthirsty bats were for into the Spanish Conquistadors because they're native to this region. But eventually the stories of these creatures found their way to Europe and onto the pages of Irish author Bram Stoker's horror masterpiece Hold Chocula. No, not Quiet Dracula, which is one of my favorites, for obvious reasons. It's a beautiful novel, but I think that Bram Stoker needed his Dracula to move long distances fast on. Then, he said, I know what my tracking is going to do. He is going to turn into a back and there's gonna fly long distances turn into a human being on by the girl. That's the moment when there, the identity and the public image of bats was like that on. Then it started climbing down like this. Terrible. The story of Dracula took off quickly, reaching the stage in 1924 and onto the silver screen in 1931 setting the tone for how bats would be perceived in popular culture for the century ahead. But wait, what about these guys? Let's hear from an expert. Hello, boys and girls now, not him him. There's only three species of vampire bats the hairy legged vampire bats on the white winged vampire bat. The third species, though, is the common vampire bat. I lead a group of researchers that studies disease transmission by bats. Another area where bats catch a bad rap is the potential transmission of viruses. Virtually all living animals have viruses. Really. Whether bats do have unusual number of human infecting viruses is really issue that's still up for debate. One of the most exciting things is exploring whether or not we can control diseases within wild bat populations. The two areas that I'm quite excited about our one called transferrable vaccines. This is an idea of an oral vaccine, but it's integrated into a gel, which is spread onto about topically. You spread that onto some bats, release them, and then the other bats will broom the vaccine off and potentially become vaccinated. But ultimately, if you wanted to doom or that would be something called the transmissible vaccine, a vaccine that spreads more like an infectious virus. I'm hoping that we'll get there with the bats, but it might be a decade or so, But in the meantime, just because bats do have those viruses, it doesn't mean that we need to fear bats. Generally, when these viruses air being transmitted from bats to humans, there is really a strong human component. Why that happens. The capturing of wildlife for animal market and deforestation are examples of how human encroachment on bats natural habitat may lead to virus transmission. The species that are endangered are those species that rely on pristine, intact tropical rainforests. Those animals are losing Mawr and Maura of their space because of our encroaching. This is the moment in which we have to think. How can I help bats? That's get such a bad rap. And so another big part of that conservation is education. Tell everyone, Tell our friends, Tell our family how neat bats are and how important they really are. Way, every day, way. Get benefits from them. Very ready. They get anything positive from us. It's time that we change that equation. Mhm, mhm.