Blood-sucking villains. Spooky specters of the night. Our views of bats are often based more on fiction than fact. Enter National Geographic Explorer at Large Rodrigo Medellín, aka the Bat Man of Mexico. For decades, he’s waged a charm offensive to show the world how much we need bats, from the clothes we wear to a sip of tequila at the end of a long day. The COVID-19 pandemic caused even more harmful bat myths and gave Medellín the biggest challenge of his career. In this episode originally published in 2021, learn why the world must once again realize that bats may not be the hero everyone wants—but they’re the hero we need.
For more information on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard.
See how Rodrigo uses a multi-pronged approach—involving field research, conservation, and tequila—to help protect bats.
In a Nat Geo short film, Rodrigo ventures into an ancient Mayan ruin to find two rare species of vampire bat.
Curious about the connection between bats and Covid-19? Explore why it’s so tricky to trace the disease’s origins.
Learn more about bats: They can be found nearly everywhere on Earth and range in size from lighter than a penny to a six-foot wingspan.
Why do bats get a bad rap? See how Spanish conquistadors and Dracula convinced us bats are more fright than friend.
Bat myths have real-world consequences. In Mauritius, a government campaign culled tens of thousands of endangered fruit bats.
For more bat info, follow Rodrigo on Instagram @batmanmedellin.
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