Conserve Wildlife Blog

Bats, Vampires, and Halloween: Why the Season Brings Bats to Mind

November 1st, 2021

by Leah Wells, Wildlife Biologist

The Big Brown Bat is one of New Jersey’s most common bat species!

When you think about Halloween, the first things that may come to mind are probably trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, black cats, and bats.

But where did the association between bats and Halloween come from?

There are around 1,400 species of bats worldwide that feed mainly on insects, fruits, rodents, and even frogs. However, 3 species of bats (the vampire bats) have a specialized diet of blood. When the discovery of these bats feeding on blood from cattle in Latin America, the name “vampire” was given to them. Then in 1897 when Bram Stoker’s Dracula hit mainstream media, the portrayal of vampires shapeshifting into bats helped solidify the idea that these creatures of the night were something to be afraid of. Vampire bats are where the group as a whole got their connection to Halloween. 

While many people still have a fear of bats, scientists and allies alike have been working to rebuild their reputation. Bat Week, which starts the week of Halloween, is an annual worldwide celebration of the role of bats in nature. This week raises awareness for bat conservation by educating the public about bats through social media and events, their role in nature, the importance they bring to agriculture, and threats they face. 

At the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, our biologists work hard throughout the year to protect our resident bat species. Whether our team is out conducting field research for our bat projects, educating the public through in-person and virtual talks, or engaging with homeowners and businesses who want to safely manage bats on their property. Our team is dedicated and committed to conserving our vulnerable bat friends. 

Happy Bat Week and Happy Halloween!

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