BATS' NEW IMAGE

RESEARCHERS SAY THEY'RE BENIGN, USEFUL AND ENDANGERED

If ever a creature seemed conjured by the forces of darkness, it is the bat. With webbed wings and feral face, the furry little beast appears to be the offspring of some monstrous union of bird and rodent. Over the years, legend has had it that bats are filthy and nasty (they feed on human blood) and that they possess spooky supernatural powers (they shift shape from bat to man). No wonder they have been a motif of countless horror tales and films.

This image, however, is the product of imaginative folklore, stubborn myth and terrible p.r. The bat, say scientists,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!