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Think Bats Are Scary? These Photos Will Change Your Mind

Of all the creatures in the animal world, bats probably get the worst rep. They are seen as scary flying animals that suck blood. However, these flying mammals are pretty awesome - they take out thousands of pesky insects, have superhero hearing, and even help the whole ecosystem. So what, you say? After all, they give you the creeps. Well, we guarantee that, after you look at these bat portraits, you will never think of them as scary again.

These striking photos were taken by Dr. Merlin Tuttle, who dedicated his life to the conservation of bats. The bat biologist and photographer has been taking beautiful photos of bats from around the world for many decades. 

Related: These Cute Bat Photos Will Change Your Perception of Them!

Tuttle wants to change people’s perception of bats through his photographs, which show the mammals in their gentle, curious, and adorable state. There are currently over 1,400 bat species worldwide, and these images capture their rich diversity. Each of the 16 bats featured below – from a wrinkle-faced bat to a dwarf bonneted bat – is unique in its own way and will make you realize how special these animals are.

A pygmy fruit-eating bat (Artibeus phaeotis) in Panama

Bat Portraits, pygmy fruit-eating bat

The Cuban flower bat (Phyllonycteris poeyi) is endemic to Cuba

Bat Portraits, Cuban flower bat

An adult female dwarf bonneted bat (Eumops bonariensis) from Venezuela

Bat Portraits, female dwarf bonneted bat

A ghost bat (Macroderma gigas) in Australia

Bat Portraits,  ghost bat

A dwarf dog-faced bat (Molossops temminckii) from Paraguay

Bat Portraits, dwarf dog-faced bat

The hairy-legged vampire bat (Diphylla ecaudata) from Mexico feeds on the blood of birds.

Bat Portraits, Hairy-legged vampire bat

A minor epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus labiatus minor) in Kenya

Bat Portraits, minor epauletted fruit bat

An African sheath-tailed bat (Coeura afra) from a cave on the Mombasa Coast of Kenya

Bat Portraits, African sheath-tailed bat

A lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) in Mexico

Bat Portraits, lesser long-nosed bat

Adult male eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) from Florida

Bat Portraits, adult male eastern red bat

A spotted bat (Euderma maculatum) in Utah

Bat Portraits, spotted bat

A Cave nectar bat (Eonycteris spelaea). They are found throughout most of Southeast Asia.

Bat Portraits, Cave nectar bat (

A Tomes' sword-nosed bat (Lonchorhina aurita) in French Guiana

Bat Portraits, A Tomes's sword-nosed bat

Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) in Texas

Bat Portraits, Brazilian free-tailed bat

A male wrinkle-faced bat (Centurio senex) from Belize

Bat Portraits,  male wrinkle-faced bat

A black bonneted bat (Eumops auripendulus) in French Guiana

Bat Portraits, black bonneted bat
Check out more bat photos by Dr. Merlin Tuttle on his Instagram page.
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