Can you keep a bat as a pet?
This question will sound weird to a lot of people due to the common perception of bats as being scary. This bad reputation has been consistent with the majority of people over many centuries.
However, not everyone perceives bats in a bad light.
Can Bats Be Pets?
Some people won’t mind having them as pets.
Do you belong to such a category of persons? If you do, you might want to know if it’s safe to keep a bat as a pet.
One certain thing is that people will have mixed feelings or perceptions about your pet preferences.
Although it isn’t cool to have one, we’ll find out if there are many reasons why you should or shouldn’t keep bats as pets.
Do Bats Make Good Pets? Things You Must Know
It’s important to understand that you aren’t the only one having the craving to keep bats as pets. While this is true, you should also know that these flying mammals are protected by law at many levels.
It’s illegal to keep native bats as pets in the United States.
This isn’t a hindrance as there are more than 40 bat species present in the United States. This statistic comes from a reliable source; the National Wildlife Federation.
Compared to other bat species around the world, this figure (40 bat species within the U.S) is quite insignificant.
There are over 1,000 bat species around the world. Any of these can be adopted as a pet, thus enabling you to have one despite certain legal restrictions.
The legal restrictions being mentioned are both at national and state levels.
Sometimes, local restrictions apply.
You Might be Seen as a Creep!
One of the things keeping bats as a pet does is that you might be seen as a creep. As mentioned earlier, the general perception of bats is that of being undesirable.
A lot of people will rather have no dealings with bats as they’re considered scary. So, your desire to own one won’t sit well with many people.
If you’re unbothered about what people think, then keeping bats as pets won’t be much of a problem. Some people keep such flying mammals as a status symbol.
Bats Don’t Do well with Caging
One important point to note about bats is that they’re creatures of the wild and hardly do well when caged. A bat is capable of living for over 2 decades.
Living in their natural habitats enables them to live that long, and not in cages. By placing bats in cages, you’re effectively placing them in sub-optimal conditions which significantly reduce their lifespan.
What we’re trying to say here is that a bat will hardly survive more than a year when kept in a cage. Unless of course, you have other provisions that mimic its natural habitat.
Even at that, there are no certainties that these bats will survive for long. Their natural habitats are much better than any other provided by humans.
Bat Lovers wouldn’t want to Alter or Condition their Lives
If you’re a true bat lover, you’ll want to observe and admire from afar.
As creatures of the wild, they need their freedom to live and thrive on their terms. Bats don’t need your help to survive. You’ll have to let them be.
Let’s consider the pros and cons of keeping bats as pets.
The Pros of Keeping Bats as Pets
Are there any benefits to keeping bats as pets? When caged, there’s little advantage you’ll get from their presence. However, free bats living around your surroundings providing many benefits.
First, they’re nature’s insect control. Bats are well adapted to feeding on flying insects such as mosquitoes and other pests.
They’re so efficient at feeding on these insects that a single bat can consume about 600 insects an hour! Another benefit is derived from their droppings also called guano.
Being rich in nitrogen will serve as fertilizer for your garden.
Bats are also pollinators that help with plant pollination.
Another key benefit of having bats around is that they help with seed distribution. Here, the seeds of different plants are distributed to new areas which result in the growth of such seeds to trees.
It’s still necessary to restate that these perceived benefits of bat presence do not apply to those kept as pets.
Because their movement is restricted, they’re more redundant and provide little to no benefits at all.
Cons of Keeping Bats as Pets
Unfortunately, the disadvantages of keeping bats as pets far outweigh the advantages. You’ll have to deal with bat guano when keeping these nocturnal creatures as pets.
This exposure to bat guano increases your chances of contracting lung diseases like histoplasmosis.
What more? There’s a risk of contracting rabies from an infected bat. Your bat pet may have come in contact with another with a rabies infection. Pest issues common with bats can result.
You may end up dealing with bat bugs among other pests.
Is it Worth the Try?
From our discussions so far, it’s evident that keeping bats as pets exposes you to a lot more than necessary. In terms of benefits, we’ve seen that bats are more beneficial to you in the wild than being kept in cages as pets.
What more? Their lifespan is significantly reduced in your custody than in the wild.
This makes little sense as it becomes a wastage of life and resources. Plus, you increase your risk levels to a wide range of diseases.
Bats are Smelly
It’s no secret that bats are mostly smelly.
This is part of their communication mechanism. So, keeping one as a pet will make your surroundings smell. Your best bet will be to keep them outdoors.
However, your neighbors might have issues with such a smell.
Keeping bats as pets isn’t widely accepted socially too. You might be considered as being weird. However, that doesn’t necessarily define you as you might just be an animal lover as most people are.
Keeping bats as pets is possible but aren’t convenient on many levels.
You’ll need to be more considerate about the implications of your actions. Some of these implications have been mentioned above.