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Tattoo designs - B >> Bats

Bat tattoo designsBat Tattoo Design Meanings - The only mammal that truly flies and not just glides, is the bat. By defying gravity and navigating with a heightened audio sensitivity, the bat has become a symbol of transformation, intuition, and clairaudient abilities. Because bats are highly social animals living together in colonies, they are also a symbol of adaptability and survival.

A bat tattoo is a potentially powerful symbol, appropriate for those whose intuition plays a major part in their lives. It encourages exploring that which is not easily seen, or which is hidden beneath the surface, or by the dark of night. All excellent qualities by the way, for a superhero like Batman. And with the advent of the Dark Knight, 'bat cave' has taken on a whole new meaning within popular culture. The batwing symbol of Batman, even more so.

In some parts of the world, the bat is a good luck emblem. In China, it signifies longevity and happiness. For many Native American people, the bat is a trickster spirit. For the people of Tonga of the South Pacific it is a sacred animal, and in West African legend the bat is a symbol of a soul in flight. In Mayan mythology, the bat is associated with death and the deities of the underworld. In heraldry, it is a victory symbol, as it is on the coat of arms for the Spanish city of Valencia, where, according to legend, the Spanish king was victorious in battle with the Saracens through the intervention of the bat.

The smallest bat weighs in at just two grams, and the largest get up to 1.5 kilograms. The big bats measure 28 cm long, with wing spans of two metres. The larger bats live on fruit, finding food by sight, whereas the small bats catch insects on the wing by a process known as echolocation. Through their sensitivity to vibrations, they are able to locate the tiniest objects in the vicinity. Of a thousand different bat species, only three feed on blood.

The blood-sucking vampire bat is a creature of stealth and agility. It approaches the sleeping animal without disturbing it, then inserts its canine teeth into the appropriate spot and licks up the spilled blood. As some bats are carriers of the deadly rabies, they have become synonymous with death and disease.

None of the blood-sucking bat species are native to Europe. Their association with myths and legends of the vampire arose only after the conquistadors returned to Spain from the Americas in the 16th century, recounting stories of bats that fed on blood. The name 'vampire' was subsequently attributed to those blood-sucking bats found in Mexico and South America.

When vampire stories became especially popular in Europe in the 19th century, characteristics of the vampire bat were incorporated into Dracula's own modus operandi. The batwing cloak, the silent approach, the licking and sucking, they were all reminiscent of the blood-sucking bats of the Americas. Eventually, many vampires in literature and cinema were able to literally transform themselves into bats, and bats were familiars with vampires in the imagination of the public.

The bat has long been attributed with qualities of darkness, evil, and death, particularly in the West. As predatory creatures of the night that slept, upside down in caves, trees, and dark forbidding places, they were associated with the black arts of witches and became symbols of foreboding and bad luck. Halloween became a natural bat-promoting feast day because of their association with ghosts and death. Folklore is full of bats as a potent ingredient in witches brew, ensuring that it would become a creature to be feared and avoided.

In fact, bats are fond of grooming themselves, caring for their young, and sharing their food. It is also one of the few mammal species that adopts and nurtures orphans of its species. Bats are very beneficial to the environment and to farmers, eating vast quantities of insects that might otherwise damage crops, and acting as a strong control by their predation of mosquito populations. Some bats, in a manner similar to bees, even assist in the pollination of different plants. The more one studies bats, the more you are impressed with the skill set of this quiet night flyer.

Just outside of San Antonio, Texas is the Bracken Bat Cave which is home to the world's largest bat colony, some 20-40 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats. The bat colony takes hours to leave and return to the cave every evening, and in their journeys the colony consumes some 200 tons of flying insects every night. With over two hundred bats per square foot, the colony raises the inside temperature from 68 degrees F, to 108 degrees F. Bats have proven to be so beneficial to local ecosystems that many groups and individuals all over the world have taken to installing bat houses or bat boxes to encourage bats to take up residence. Encouraging songbirds with a birdhouse may get you a pretty melody, but a resident bat will keep the local mosquitoes at bay.

Bat Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!The bat is a creature with an exceptionally strong life-force - when frozen it goes into hibernation mode, reviving and regenerating when warmed. Observing the bat's sophisticated and highly-organized lifestyle can't help but encourage self-reflection and alertness in those who study it. This mammal's nocturnal habits might suggest surrendering to opportunities that may be present but not immediately discernible.

Get inspired by some really amazing bat images and photos in our Bat Inspiration Gallery

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Tattoo designs - B >> Bats

Tattoo Symbol Index - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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