Rogers, Arkansas -
ROGERS, AR (KNWA) - On Sunday at Hobbs State Park, folks got the chance to have a real-life encounter with live bats.
An expert taught the crowd about the benefits of these nocturnal creatures and why we shouldn't be afraid of them.
"People think 'wow that's scary and it's a big vampire bat and it's going to drink blood," says Rob Mies executive director of the Bat Conservation.
Mies brought along one bat named Camilla.
"This is a Malayan flying fox. It's the largest bat species in the entire world. She's very docile and she's got a great personality," he tells the crowd.
As she hangs from her branch, sticking out her tongue, this mammal is misunderstood.
"There are very few bats that are vampires that drink blood and they almost entirely feed off of cows," Mies explains.
Camilla travels the world with Mies. On Sunday in Rogers they were busting myths about bats.
"Sometimes people think that they're blind or think that they are going to get stuck in their hair," says Mies.
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," he says.
Mies also says if you find a bat flying around in your house, the best thing to do is just open a door or window to let the bat fly out on its own.
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