There are many more rats in this world, but bats are more likely than rats to carry diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans. According to new study conducted by Colorado State University researchers, even though there are twice as many rodent species as there are bat species, bats hosted more "zoonotic" viruses per species than rodents. Bottom line is both of them make me want to wet my britches in fear.

Angela Luis is a post doc at Colorado State who conducted the research along with Colleen Webb, a biology professor at CSU.  Their findings appear this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences. The research was funded by Research and Policy for Infectious Disease Dynamics, or RAPIDD, through the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The study does point out that bats are still good for our ecosystem.

While humans should keep their distance from bats, the ecosystem benefits from healthy bat populations that eat insects and pollinate fruits, Luis said. Bats eat enough insects to account for as much as $3 billion worth of pesticide control annually in the United States.

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