Bats have been maligned in the West for centuries. Unfair associations with demons have seen their leathery wings adorn numerous evil characters, from the Devil to Bram Stoker's Dracula. But these amazing animals are ecological superheroes. Nectar-feeding bats pollinate important crops like agave; fruit-eating bats disperse seeds and encourage reforestation; and insect-eating bats keep down mosquito populations and other pests, saving agricultural industries billions of dollars. Ranging in size from a bumblebee to creatures with a wingspan the length of an adult human, found on all continents except Antarctica, and displaying extraordinary abilities like echolocation--a built-in sonar system that enables many bats to navigate in the dark--these incredibly diverse mammals are as surprising as they are misunderstood.
In Bat, Tessa Laird challenges our preconceptions as she combines fascinating facts of bat biology with engaging portrayals of bats in mythology, literature, film, popular culture, poetry, and contemporary art. She also provides a sobering reminder of the threats bats face worldwide, from heatwaves and human harassment to wind turbines and disease. Illustrated with incredible photographs and artistic representations of bats from many different cultures and eras, this celebration of the only mammals possessing true flight will enthrall batty fans, skeptics, and converts alike.