Up close and personal, bats look more like homely teddy bears than terrifying creatures from a horror movie.

Up close and personal, bats look more like homely teddy bears than terrifying creatures from a horror movie. That’s what a crowd of about 50 people learned Friday night during a special presentation by Norcal Bat founder Corky Quirk.

Sponsored by the Mount Shasta Community Resource Center, the hour-long presentation dispelled some of the myths about bats and introduced children and adults to the wonders of the nocturnal species.

Quirk said smaller bats, such as the Mexican Free Tailed Bat, can live to be more than 30 years old – a fact that many in the crowd were surprised to learn.

Though you often hear the expression “blind as a bat,” bats are not blind, but many species do see in black and white. They find their food using echolocation, and Quirk used an instrument that converts very high sounds to sounds low enough for the crowd to hear to prove her point.

Holding a furry Pallid Bat in her gloved hand, Quirk walked around as the bat made a series of clicking noises to learn the size and shape of the room.

Quirk then fed the Pallid Bat, which is much larger and furrier than many of his friends, a mealworm and showed the crowd her gently outstretched wing.

Also introduced were Big Brown Bats, which have seen a sharp decline in population over the last 20 years, as well as the smaller Mexican Free Tailed Bat.

All of the bats used in Quirk’s presentation are part of Norcal Bats’ education program because they cannot live on their own in the wild, she said. Norcal Bats rescues and rehabilitates bats, and many of them were brought in because they were injured by a housecat, she said.

If you find a bat on the ground, do not touch it, Quirk said. Instead, put a box over it so it can’t escape and call her organization at 530-902-1918 for assistance.

For more about Norcal Bats, you can visit their website at norcalbats.org