Tessa Laird

Paperback | May 2018 | REAKTION BOOKS | 9781780238944 | 224pp | 190x135mm | Forthcoming | GEN | AUD$24.99, NZD$29.99

Bats have been misunderstood and 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 from the size of a bumblebee to those with a wingspan the length of an adult human, they are the only mammals possessing true flight and are found on all continents except Antarctica. 

In Bat Tessa Laird challenges preconceptions about these amazing animals, combining 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 risks 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 bats contains much to enthral converts and sceptics alike.