We are all scared of bats. They look bit dangerous, especially when they are resting upside down! In fact bats can even sleep in upside down position, All thanks to the evolution.
Bats cannot fly like birds as their wings cannot produce enough lift. Neither can they run and propel themselves in air like airplanes as their legs are too tiny. Therefore, the best way is to reach a high position, dive, flutter & fly.
Another spooky characteristic of bat is their nocturnal routine. Bats sleep during day time and feast their prey during night time. They also make an eerie sound while chirping which further scares us.
Also, humans are scared of darkness as they cannot combat any danger in dark due to absence of eye sight and bats do not need eyes to sense. They can navigate by utilizing the echo of their sound. If it bounces back, than there is obstacle in the way. Some species of bats can even sense UV rays. These very same species feed off nectar of flowers and yes, nectar of flowers can reflect UV rays so bats somehow evolved over the years to sense it. This is like a perfect example of Darwin’s survival of fittest.
However, the most dangerous feature of bats lies in its ability to host and transmit deadly zoonotic viruses. A zoonotic virus is a type of virus that can jump from 1 species to another. Researchers have concluded that bats have hosted up to 61 zoonotic viruses and many of these are absolutely minacious. Bat droppings can cause histoplasmosis in humans when they accidentally inhale the airborne fungus of the bat droppings.
Recent outbreaks of Ebola & Nipah virus can show the kind of havoc that bats can create as both pathogens were transmitted through bats and do not have any cure. There is a 75% probability of death if infected by Nipah and about 60% certainty of death if infected by Ebola. The recent outbreak of Ebola in west Africa took around 11,310 lives. It was one of the deadliest outbreak till date and it spread like wildfire infecting even the doctors and nurses trying to treat the infected patients. Ebola for example can be spread through saliva, mucus, vomit, feces, sweat, tears, breast milk, urine and semen. This increases the probability of transmission aggressively.
Researchers are working hard to find a cure to these and on the other hand viruses are becoming immune to antibiotics and getting stronger through the evolution process itself.
Time will tell if we are able to outpace them every single time.