Big Bat with a Big Personality Charms Northwest Arkansans

Published 06/16 2014 06:19AM

Updated 06/16 2014 11:31AM

ROGERS, Ark. -- Bats often conjure up images of Dracula, or getting tangled up in  your hair.  But many of those myths were pushed aside Sunday at Hobbs State Park in Arkansas, by a furry, flying ambassador for bats.

A expert talked with the crowd at the park about the benefits of the nocturnal creatures and why we shouldn't be afraid.

Rob Mies, executive director of the Bat Conservation said, "People think 'wow that's scary and it's a big vampire bat and it's going to drink blood'."

Mies brought along one bat named Camilla.  "She's very docile and she's got a great personality."

As she hangs from her branch, sticking her tongue out, this mammal is misunderstood.

Mies said, "There are very few bats that are vampires that drink blood and they almost entirely feed off of cows."

Camilla travels the world Mies."This is a Malayan flying fox. It's the largest bat species in the entire world."

On Sunday she stopped by Hobbs State Park in Rogers, busting myths about bats.

Mies said, "Sometimes people think that they're blind or think that they are going to get stuck in their hair."

He says these flying friends are important to keep around. "They eat fruit and they spread seeds. They drink nectar and then they pollinate. and all of our bats around here eat insects."

While they have a bad reputation, he hopes people can see beyond the fiction.

"They are not blind. They are not going to get stuck in your hair. We grow up with things. We believe them because our grand mom or grand pop or mom or dad told us. well then we find out later, maybe it wasn't true. She allows me to pick her up and carry her around."

Mies also says if you find a bat flying around in your house, the best thing to do is to just open a door or window to let the bat fly out on its own.

(KNWA, Fayetteville)

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