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It may look scary, but don't worry. It'll be gone when the morning comes.

"For something is amiss or out of place
When mice with wings can wear a human face."
Theodore Roethke, "The Bat"
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Bats are creepy for many people. They often seem like rats with wings to us, they are thought to spread rabies, and apparently like to hang out in all sorts of dark, foreboding places (caves, bell towers, abandoned houses, castles, crypts, etc). Three species (out of over 1,000!) are infamous for drinking blood, and have led to a strong association between bats and vampires. As such, bats frequently show up as antagonists in horror themed media. Can be roughly divided into a few types:

  1. Normal bats: Frequently depicted as The Swarm; a shrieking mass of menacing wings, regardless of whether or not they pose any actual danger to the cast.
  2. Dire bats: Larger and more vicious than normal bats, and menacing even without The Swarm to back them up.
  3. Bat People: Monstrous, anthropomorphic creatures with a mixture of bat and human features.
  4. Robo bats: Robotic bats.
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Vampires can sometimes transform into these. Bat wings are also a frequent model for winged creatures of an Evil alignment.

In Real Life bats aren't actually all that bad, and probably among the most unfairly maligned animals. Most bat species only eat insects or fruit, and many species are very useful to mankind as pest-eaters, pollinators and so on. The "shrieking" is often closer to benign chirping/clicking. Sometimes, they're even Ridiculously Cute Critters.

The part about them spreading rabies is sort of true, though; the species is a natural reservoir for the virus, and if a bat's found in somebody's living space it's standard protocol to treat them for rabies just in case, especially since it's possible for a bat to bite you without you noticing, particularly if you're intoxicated or asleep. Only about 0.5% of bats in the United States actually have the rabies virus, but the small yearly number of human cases in the country can mostly be divided into people who got bitten by mad dogs and people who got bitten by infected bats.

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This is not Goddamned Bats (which is about any kind of annoying video game enemy), but the two categories frequently overlap.

See Good Wings, Evil Wings; evil wings tend to be batlike, while good wings are usually more feathery.

Not to be confused with the album by Meat Loaf (though the cover art does contain an example).


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: A Season 8 episode demonstrates summoning a swarm of bats as one of the abilities used by the villain Huo Haha. The bats swirl around Happy S. as he is trying to fight Huo, distracting him.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Played for Laughs, where Team RWBY runs into Nox the Zubat in the fourth chapter. It's lampshaded that a featureless face with no eyes, no nose, and a massive mouth with prominent fangs should be horrifying... and yet, the little fellow somehow manages to look cute, especially for Ruby Rose.
  • Defied in Dæmorphing. Cassie is horrified at first when Quincy settles as a vampire bat shortly after the Animorphs kill David, but her dad tells her that vampire bats are altruistic despite having to do harsh things to survive.
  • In Getting Back on Your Hooves, when the CMC get lost in the Everfree, they are attacked by a Ropen, a giant, blind batlike monster that hunts by sound. Since it's blind, Fluttershy's Stare has no effect on it, but Trixie temporarily crippled its echolocation using a fireworks spell.
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The laser-eyed robo-bats (aka the Flitters) in the cliff dwelling in The Soft World.
  • In The New Adventures of Invader Zim, one of Norlock's most frequently seen powers is the ability to transform into a giant demonic bat.
  • Realistic Pokémon portrays the Gengar line as this. Gastly is depicted as a floating version of the Normal Bat variant, which develops into a Dire Bat upon evolving into Haunter and eventually becomes a flightless version of the Dire Bat when it becomes Gengar. He also did a gorgeous portrayal of the below mentioned Noivern.
  • Total Drama Comeback Series: When Noah has to go down into the Pit of 100 Screams to retrieve a gemstone, he comes face to face with a giant bat. He almost runs for it, but remembers that most bats aren't carnivorous, eating insects and fruit, and successfully retrieves the gem from under it.

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney:
    • The Emperor's New Groove: When Kuzco and Pacha are attempting to climb out of the chasm they have fallen into, Kuzco (as a llama) rams his mouth and nose into a small cave opening, which is of course revealed to be full of bats. The bats all immediately attempt to flee, leading to... blech!
    • Fantasia: Inverted for some viewers. Viewing Chernabog as a big bat may serve as Nightmare Retardant.
    • The Great Mouse Detective: Fidget the bat isn't very intimidating or terribly evil, but he's still the Big Bad's primary henchman.
    • Moana: Giant, multi-eyed bats are seen, based on Pe'ape'a.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest: Batty the giant bat was actually a normal bat who just looks huge in comparison to fairies. He's also friendly, if a little addled.
  • Plumiferos: Subverted. Clarita the bat frightens Feifi the sparrow at first during her new life of freedom out of her cage, but the misunderstanding is cleared up and they become good friends.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Abominable Dr. Phibes, one of the not-so-good Doctor's methods of execution is releasing a swarm of bats to nibble their victim to death. However, the flying foxes shown in the movie are fairly docile and prefer fruit and nectar to humans. And they're kind of cute, too.
  • Ace Ventura: Ace loves all animals... except bats, which he fears and loathes. "DIE, DEVIL BIRD!" "TAKE THAT, YOU WINGED SPAWN OF SATAN!" (No, it's not that the bats are actually creepy, but hell, his reaction is hilarious.)
  • In Daybreakers, a virus which started in bats caused some of the human population to become vampires, eventually resulting in 95% of the human population becoming vampires. These vampires cannot transform into bats, but, if deprived of blood, they become batlike, animalistic creatures.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: The giant bats are actually real bats — but not vampire bats, contrary to what Indy says. Many large bats in Real Life have been saddled with taxonomic names containing vampire references, so Indy might well have been misled by this — or he was just trying to screw with Willy. Just listen to his voice when he says that line.
  • Gamera: The Gyaos are giant man-eating bats. It should be noted, however, that the Heisei Gamera films refer to them as genetically engineered birds, despite retaining bat-like ears and wings.
  • Graveyard Shift climaxes with a giant bat-like monster under the textile mill. The intent is probably supposed to be giant rat that has evolved bat-like wings, as in the Stephen King short story that inspired the movie, but you'd be forgiven for thinking it was just a big ol' bat.
  • King Kong (2005) features a cave of Dire Bats. Technically, A Natural History of Skull Island identifies these creatures as winged carnivorous rodents, not true bats. Their looks still play off the killer-bat-from-hell trope, however.
  • In Lifeforce the vampiric aliens' (they steal our energy rather than blood) true form is giant bats. Oddly, in the source book Space Vampires (subtle) their form is more like octopi, which makes no sense whatsoever.
  • Nightwing has a swarm of killer plague infected vampire bats summoned by a vengeful Native American shaman.
  • The Roost: Aggressive Dire Bats infect humans with vampirism by biting.
  • Tropic Thunder: A giant bat steals Jeff Portnoy's bag of "jellybeans" (actually cocaine).
  • Underworld (2003): Marcus Corvinus is the very first vampire, and significantly more bat-like than every other vampire. However, this is only after his corpse ingests Lycan blood, and his becoming a hybrid was overridden by his vampire genes, making him able to change into a batlike form.
  • Van Helsing: Dracula and his wives can turn into a werebat. Their children are also bat creatures.
  • In Wild Horse Phantom, Fuzzy gets attacked by an enormous Dire bat while roaming the mine tunnels. He responds by biting it.

    Literature 
  • In After Man: A Zoology of the Future, an island-chain that emerged after humans' extinction happened to be reached by bats before birds, and they came to dominate its ecosystems. Bat-descended animals found there include seal-like surfbats, flightless bug-eaters that imitate flowers, and bizarre shrieking predators called "nightstalkers" that walk on their front limbs and claw with their back ones.
  • The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast: The Long-Eared Bat in the poem of the same name is the only insectivore to be portrayed as actually preying on the insect characters.
  • The Dresden Files: This shows up from time to time in association with the vampire courts.
    • The Red Court vampires are large, slimy, flightless bat-creatures who hide behind idealised human flesh-masks.
    • The Winter Court also has an air-force largely composed of gigantic bats.
  • In Elfstones of Shannara, The Dagda Mor mounts one of these for his final confrontation with the Roc-mounted Allanon.
  • Played with in A Night in the Lonesome October. The evil vampiric Count can transform into a large bat, and also has a real bat as a familiar. Needle the bat, despite his employment status, is actually an amiable fellow and no danger to anybody except small insects and the occasional defenseless grape. The Count himself never does anything to harm the heroes, and sides with them against the villains.
  • Nobody Lives for Ever: James Bond is attacked by a hybrid giant vampire bat in a hotel bathroom. Its threat comes from the possible diseases it may carry and after killing it, Bond scrubs the bathroom with antiseptics so that no trace of said diseases are left behind.
  • The Princess Bride: The King Bats. They're one of the few things of which Fezzik is actually afraid.
  • Quantum Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner: Just like in the original video game, Bat can transform into the Mayan god of death Camazotz, which looks like a deformed gigantic bat. And he's also a cannibal.
  • In The Reynard Cycle, bats are generally considered to be creatures of The Watcher, the god of death, and are thus generally considered an ill omen. In The Baron of Maleperduys, Hermeline recalls that the castle of Maleperduys had to be cleared of a swarm of them before Reynard and companions could call it home.
  • The Sharing Knife features "malices" which create monstrous servants by magically twisting animals into more-or-less human bodies, with at least some semblance of human intelligence. In Horizon (the fourth and so far final book of the series) a malice gets hold of an enormous cave-ful of bats (one character notes there are millions of bats in some of the caves in that region) and winds up creating a flying army of creatures somewhere between "Dire Bats" and "Were Bats", while the malice itself takes the form of an especially large and eerily beautiful Were Bat.
  • Silverwing: Subverted with the bat protagonists, but played straight with the brutal and cannibalistic false vampire bats who serve as the main villains. The cannibalistic bats also worship the Mayan god Camazotz, a fiery bat who demands sacrifices.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The extinct House Lothston, whose sigil was a black bat, had an ill reputation in the Seven Kingdoms. Lady Danelle Lothston was rumored to have practiced black magic, bathed in blood, and presided over feasts of human flesh. Even decades after the fall of the Lothstons, their sigil is still feared by many, and mothers tell stories to their children about bats flying from Harrenhal to carry bad children to Mad Danelle's cooking pots.
  • Spellsinger: Subverted. Pog the bat (oversized and intelligent, like nearly all animals in that world) is one of the nicer characters in the series.
  • Stephen King:
    • Cujo: A rabid bat is what infects the titular dog with rabies. Downplayed, as the bat isn't really evil or even malicious, just diseased.
    • Night Shift: Graveyard Shift has giant bats that actually are mutant rats. The Film of the Book does away with the bat/rat connection, and simply has a giant mutant bat sharing the toxic cavern with regular rats.
  • Vespers: The pair of giant mutant bats. They are also accompanied by huge swarms of normal bats, which are driven to attack by the influence of the giants.
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs: The bats inhabiting the Black Woods are large, noisy beasts with beaked snouts and a wingspan of two meters. Fortunately, they are very loud but not aggressive.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dark Shadows: The witch Angelique Bouchard summons a vampire bat to transform the wealthy Barnabas Collins (her former lover who broke her heart to marry her employer) into a vampire, leading to the town's pursuit of him.
  • Doctor Who:
  • The Future Is Wild: In the ice age five million years in the future, a group of American bats has evolved into predators name deathgleaners that grow to the size of birds of prey.
  • Gilligan's Island: In "Up at Bat", Gilligan is bitten by a large, nasty-looking bat and thinks he's turning into a vampire.
  • Grimm: The Murcielago are bat-like Wesen with the ability to emit a screech that can rupture windows, lungs, ear-drums and eyes.
  • Kamen Rider: Bats are one of the most popular stock motifs for monsters in Kamen Riders, where like the vast majority of monsters, they serve a primarily villainous role. Bats are a fairly popular motif for Riders too. Surprisingly, no bat-themed Rider thus far has ever been purely villainous.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki: Ren Akiyama/Kamen Rider Knight is the secondary protagonist of the series. While he is cold, aloof and willing to kill others to save his lover (or so he tells himself), he has a hidden-heart of gold and is one of the few Riders to even make an attempt to save civilians from monster attacks.
      • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight: Ren's American counterpart, Len/Kamen Rider Wing Knight, is even more blatantly heroic than Ren, and lacks Ren's selfish though understandable motivations.
    • Kamen Rider Kiva: Wataru Kurenai/Kamen Rider Kiva is the protagonist of the series, and is generally a moral well-meaning person.
      • In the same series, we have Kamen Rider Dark Kiva. While the Dark Kiva armor's first user, King, is a villain through-and-through, the armor's later users, Otoya Kurenai and Taiga Nobori both use the armor for good (though Taiga takes a few steps towards getting to that stage).
    • Kamen Rider Decade: Natsumi Hikari becomes Kamen Rider Kivala in the finale movie, and is instrumental in stopping a (seemingly) rampaging Decade.
    • Kamen Rider Build: Nariaki Utsumi/Kamen Rider Mad Rogue. Initially starts off as a subordinate to Evolt before revealing his true intentions to defeat Evolt. When he appears in later media, he fights alongside the other heroic Kamen Riders.
      • While not officially a Kamen Rider, Night Rogue does superficially resemble one and is wholly villainous for his entire tenure. While his main user, Gentoku Himuro does indeed eventually redeem himself, he only does so after permanently adopting the crocodile-themed Kamen Rider Rogue identity.
    • Kamen Rider Revice: Kagerou/Kamen Rider Evil and Daiji Igarashi/Kamen Rider Live. While Kamen Rider Evil is, well, evil, its powers are nothing more than a mirror to Kamen Rider Live who is in contrast, purely heroic.
  • Married... with Children: One episode has a throw-away gag where Peg opens one of the cabinets in the family's kitchen to reveal a mass of cobwebs and a large bat flapping around. She wisely just closes it again.
  • Monster Warriors: In "Megabatua", the Monster Warriors attempt to combat gigantic vampire bats which have invaded Capital City Hospital and depleted its blood supply.
  • The Office (US): In one episode, a bat winds up loose in the titular office. Jim, playing to Dwight's usual Genre Blindness, convinces him that he was bitten and is turning into a vampire.
  • Power Rangers Megaforce has "Zombats", cyborg creatures used to make monsters grow. They have black, serpentine bodies which end in blades and a single large eye for a head.
  • Primeval: The Future Predators are highly evolved, flightless bats, and apparently inspired by the flightless bats of After Man: A Zoology of the Future. Rather than being creepy or blood-drinking, they're ferocious, strong and agile predators.
  • In Season 4 of Stranger Things, Vecna's realm in the Upside Down is patrolled by nasty bat-like creatures, who swarm the party after they come through the lake portal and are fought off with great difficulty (Steve kills one by biting its head off, which resident Metalhead Eddie comments is "extremely Ozzie of you"). Later, in order to infiltrate the house where Vecna dwells, they need to distract the bats, which Eddie does with an utterly epic rendition of Master of Puppets on his electric guitar from atop his trailer. Sadly, they ultimately claim Eddie's life, when he decides to (successfully) buy more time by leaving the trailer and facing the swarm.
  • The Ultra Series, given its colorful myriad of different monsters, inevitably have a few bat-themed kaiju, including Alien Carmilla Dracula's from Return of Ultraman, Batton from Ultraman Leo, and Kyuranos from Ultraman Tiga. The first and third even displayed properties similar to vampires, including biting Ultramen in their necks to drain them of energy and getting severely weakened by sunlight.

    Magazines 
  • The Lion King: One Hakuna Matata story subverts this. The plot involves a snake kidnapping a baby monkey into his cave to eat, with scary-looking bats as scenery presumably to highlight the mood. But the bats turn out to be the ones to save the monkey from the snake by purposefully distracting it.

    Music 
  • Meat Loaf: All three albums of the trilogy of the same name include cover art of a demonic bat in a hellish background and a musclebound hero on a magic flying motorcycle. The animated music video for one of the songs, "The Monster Is Loose", brings all three album covers together by telling the story of the man with the motorcycle who rescues his (literally) angelic girlfriend from a giant bat. She narrowly escapes Damsel in Distress territory by saving him herself at one point.
  • Roger Glover's concept album based on ''The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast" features a song, "Watch Out For the Bat", where the bat is not only a threat to would-be attendants of the Butterfly Ball, but seems to be an embodiment of the fear of mortality.
    Watch out for the Bat now
    Or that'll be that now
    The price you will pay is dear
    So don't be ashamed to fear
    That is what makes you care
    Makes you beware

    Mythology 
  • Aboriginal Australian Myths:
    • Bats are very prominent. Some fit the classical bill (Narahdarn, the malicious bat in several South-eastern traditions), while others are more benevolent (the bat is one of the two sacred animals of the Worimi, for example) to complete weirdness by our standards (the flying fox is associated with the sun goddesses, which makes sense because, like all fruit bats, flying foxes are not nocturnal). Palian the bat is one of the two top gods (the other being his brother Bunjil) in Kulin tradition and the benevolent ancestor of the people of the bat moeity.
    • The Garkain of Yolngu tradition is a bat/bird thing that envelops people with its leathery wings, which smell so bad that it actually kills the poor victim. The souls are left to wander Arnhem Land forever.
  • Mayan Mythology: The Camazotz is a bat-god associated with night, death and sacrifice. The name literally translates as "death bat". In the Popol Vuh, Camazotz are the bat-like monsters encountered by the Mayan Hero Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque during their trials in the underworld of Xibalba. The twins had to spend the night in the House of Bats where they squeeze themselves into their own blowguns in order to defend themselves. When Hunahpu stuck his head out of his blowgun to see if the sun had risen, Camazotz immediately snatched off his head and carried it to the ballcourt to be hung up as the ball to be used by the gods in their next ballgame.
  • Pacific Mythology: In Hawaiian mythology, the god Maui battled a giant eight-eyed bat known as Pe'ape'a that kidnapped his wife.
    • Subverted with the Samoan bat goddess Leutogi, who was a benevolent protector and fertility goddess.

    Newspapers 
  • The "Moon-Hoax", a series of fake articles published in the New York Sun in the mid-19th century, convinced gullible readers that a new kind of telescope had revealed life forms on the moon's surface. At the climax of the series, a race of intelligent bat-people were "sighted", and subverted this trope by being peaceful vegetarians.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Crimestrikers, which is set in a World of Funny Animals, both subverts this and plays it straight. Nyx Marama, a member of the titular team of heroes, is one of the nicest characters in the game. Vladimir "Steelwing" Kavas, a deposed dictator who want his old job back, isn't.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dire bats are large, aggressive relatives of normal bats.
    • The Eyewing combines bat wings with a Faceless Eye.
    • Several magical species of giant bat are found in the Forgotten Realms.
    • Subverted by D&D 3E's desmodu, bat-like subterranean humanoids which are actually among the few good-aligned races in the Underdark. Their smaller cousins, the nycters, are generally neutral-aligned -
    • Two of the minor domain lords in the Ravenloft setting are werebats.
    • The mobat is basically a dire bat, only smart, with a spike on its tail.
    • Giant bats in Basic D&D are the size of hawks, and about 10% are giant vampire bats with a paralytic bite.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Warhammer:
      • Unsurprisingly, the Vampire Counts have several bat units, including Bat Swarms (regular bats), Fell Bats (flocks of bigger bats), Varghulfs (vampires who have (usually willingly) degenerated into huge flightless bat-like monsters), and Vargheists (vampires who were forcibly mutated into mindless flying bat monsters smaller than the aforementioned Varghulfs). The epitome of this trope in the setting is the Terrorgheist, the zombified remains of a dragon-sized bat that preys on horses and pegasi. It can also explode into a swarm of smaller bats if slain.
      • Many vampires, particularly those of the Strigoi bloodline, are capable of either turning into monstrous bats or growing bat-like wings.
    • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar:
      • Bats are the most common fauna of the Realm of Shyish, ranging from swarms of regular bats to the monstrous Fell Bats. These bats are often afflicted with the Soulblight curse turning them into bloodthirsty hunters who accompany the armies of the Soulblight vampires.
      • The Vargheists of the Soulblight armies and the Varghulf Courtiers of the Flesh-eater Courts are vampires who have lost their humanity, devolving into hideous bat-creatures.
    • Necromunda:
      • Some areas of the Necromundan Underhive are infested with swarms of carrion bats. These scavengers have ferocious piranha-like jaws that they use to steal mouthfuls of flesh from corpses and living Underhivers alike.
      • Ripper Jacks are bat-like alien creatures that inhabit abandoned domes in the Underhive. Ripper Jacks attack by enveloping their prey’s head with their wings while biting and gouging their eyes and throat. Many Beastmaster Wyrds are able to control Ripper Jacks and fight alongside them during battle.
  • Pathfinder: Besides swarms of regular bats and dire bats the size of oxen, there are also mobats — sapient giant bats native to the Darklands — and skavelings, mobat ghouls with the same paralyzing touch of the regular humanoid kind. Werebats are also presented as a type of lycanthrope.
  • In Rocket Age Martian Devil Vultures are Type 2s, being hairless wolf-sized creatures with four grasping limbs and two wings. They're intelligent enough to make dead-fall traps.
  • Shadowrun:
    • The rather inaccurately named birdman, also referred to somewhat more accurately as the manbat, is a type of Awakened bat the size of a bird of prey. While they don't normally go after humans, they're still quite aggressive when disturbed, naturally prey on creatures as big as owls, move in large swarms, and possess very sharp claws on their thumbs and saliva laced with contagious bacteria.
    • Stonebinders are large, but not unrealistically so, Awakened brown bats with long tails tipped with venomous stingers. Their real danger comes from their saliva, however, which causes living tissues it touches to rapidly calcify and turn into an immobile, stone-like state. Stonebinders can spit this saliva with great accuracy from a meter away, and its effects spread from the area of contact until the victim is entirely petrified within a few hours.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, members of the Tzimisce clan are fond of using their signature Discipline in order to assume a horrible, batlike "war form" called the zulo. More advanced practitioners of the Discipline can turn into a more powerful, flight-capable version called simply a "chiropteran marauder".
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Averted. Of all the various breeds that exist, including spiders, sharks and dinosaurs, the werebats are not one of them, having been wiped out several centuries ago. Mind you, the reason the Camazotz (the werebats) got eliminated in the first place is because the Shadow Lords who were part of the expeditions to South America fell prey to this trope. While the Camazotz served as Gaia's nocturnal messengers (not unlike the Corax, or wereravens), the Shadow Lords pointed out that anything with a shape like that had to be in thrall to the Wyrm (they weren't, as it happened). With the South American Camazotz wiped out, Bat, their totem, ended up falling to the Wyrm, dooming the surviving Australian Camazotz as their creation ritual became corrupted. The Shadow Lords have been trying to make up for that fuckup ever since and have even managed to free an aspect of Bat from the Wyrm's grip... but the Camazotz are still dead.
  • Werewolf: The Forsaken, while lacking true werecreatures outside of werewolves, allows werebats in the form of bat-themed skinchangers.

    Theatre 

    Theme Park 
  • One of the trails in Disney's Animal Kingdom lets you bypass the bat exhibit — the bats alone among all the other animals. For perspective, this is the trail that walks you right by a KOMODO DRAGON without a similar warning. The bats, unlike the Komodo dragon, are in a small dark room, and going back out into the bright light can be disorienting, even if you don't have any fear of bats themselves.

    Video Games 
  • AdventureQuest: Vampires normally turn into Werebats, and more powerful Vampires are always Werebats (except the queen). Werepyres are part wolf, part bat, but they look more like a bat than a wolf.
  • The Adventures of Massmouth has the Stuka-Bats, inhabiting Abandoned Mines on the planet Nemo. They are frighteningly fast and vicious, and their bizarre, scary screams don't help.
  • In Afterlife (1996), one of the disasters that can attack the Fire and Brimstone Hell are Bats out of Hell, a swarm of bats who defecate on buildings.
  • Arena.Xlsm: Bats are one of the many animal enemies.
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: Giant bats are a common nuisance in the caverns. They can also be tamed, like most of the other creatures in the game.
  • Battle for Wesnoth's Vampire Bat line. Which are, handily enough, also Goddamned Bats.
  • Bayonetta: Bayonetta can use Beast Within to transform into a swarm of bats when she evades just as she's about to take a hit, resulting in negated damage and extended Witch Time. While the bats themselves aren't evil (and neither is Bayonetta, herself), the magic used to fuel them does come from a demonic contract, so they are literally bats powered by the forces of Hell. As a side note, in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U her ability to transform into bats (called Bat Within) is an alternate for her down special Counter-Attack, activated when she uses her down special too late, allowing her to avoid damage just like in the game, but won't always activate Witch Time. In Smash this is her only animal transformation to be featured in the game.
  • Black & White: If the divine player character's Karma Meter is solidly Evil, the "Miracle Flock" ability summons up a smokey swarm of black bats, rather than the usual flock of white birds.
  • BloodRayne: The pureblooded vampires are werebats. The first Boss Fight of BloodRayne 2 is against the classic cape-clad Count-type, who could turn into a swarm of unhittable bats. Not dangerous by themselves but could stun and knockdown, slowing the climbing/jumping puzzle and making it easier for the Mooks on the ground to Zerg Rush her.
  • Brain Dead 13: The bats in the Trophy Room. Downplayed when one of them (a giant bat) wraps around Lance and starts playfully chewing on his head while Lance gets a slightly irritated look, in one scene that is less of a death scene and more of a cutesy mosquito bite scene.
  • Castlevania:
    • A giant bat is a classic boss monster. It was, after all, the first boss monster at the end of level one for the first game.
    • Castlevania also had the werebat form for Dracula in a few of the games.
    • There's also the bat swarm boss in Dawn of Sorrow.
    • Subverted and played straight in Symphony of the Night. The bats which attack you near the beginning are fairly weak enemies (ironically, the game has Goddamned Bats in many areas, but the actual bats aren't among them), and the giant bat boss appears, though it isn't a very strong boss. On the other hand, Alucard has a bat form (which you have to use to fully explore several areas and obtain various special items), and a bat familiar he can summon; bat-form Alucard can attack enemies with fireballs and sonar waves.
    • For another heroic subversion in the same series, Chronicles of Sorrow protagonist Soma Cruz also gains the power to turn into a bat. Which makes sense, considering...
  • In Chantelise and its sequel Recettear, there are Eyebats, oculothoraxes with wings that shoot magic rings.
  • Crypt of the NecroDancer has multiple. They move erratically, and can catch you off guard. Worse, Direbats are a miniboss that can lay a serious smackdown. Finally, Nocturna can morph into a bat.
  • Crystal's Pony Tale has bats in the river level swooping in and out of the windows of the old bridge.
  • Darksiders features not only enemy bats (occasionally fire breathing or using sound attacks), but also their mommy: Super-sized bat demon Tiamat.
  • Dark Souls II has an enemy known as the "darkdweller" in the underground pirate cove that is No Man's Wharf. It's essentially designed to resemble a giant flightless bat, its wings tweaked into long arms ending in claws that inflict bleed, and there are points where you can run into two or three at once. Fortunately, they're Blinded by the Light, meaning that a torch or the Pharros contraption can give you an edge, but if you push them into a corner, it can end... badly... for you.
  • Digital Devil Saga: Bat can transform into the Mayan god of death Camazotz, who looks like a giant bat.
  • Donkey Kong:
  • Dragon's Crown: Vampire Bats are common enemies found in most dungeons. They are large enough to bite adventurers to death as they converge on them in swarms, though this in turn also means that they're large enough for adventurers to consider them as potential hearty meals to be had around camp.
  • Dragon's Lair: One level has a swarm of bats, as well as a dire bat.
  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • Bugbats are bat-like creatures with the heads of insects. They're fairly harmless alone, but a swarm can kill a dwarf in seconds.
    • Giant bats, found living Beneath the Earth, are over three times the size of a dwarf and fill the Dire Bat niche. They’re quite capable of killing a lone dwarf by themselves, but can be captured and trained as hunting animals. Goblins sometimes bring them as mounts to sieges.
    • Bat men also exist. They only have four limbs — their arms double as wings like in real bats — and live in tribes underground, being one of the few underground animal people capable of flight. They can also be found on the surface, where like the other surface-dwelling animal people they don’t form tribes and are essentially bipedal animals.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Werebats are a form of were-creature found most commonly in the forests of Valenwood. They are massive human-sized fliers. After being mentioned in the lore several games before, they make an appearance in Online.
    • Winged Twilights are a form of lesser Daedra with humanoid female forms and large bat-like wings found throughout the series. They are most commonly found in service to Azura, the Daedric Prince of Dusk and Dawn, which seems rather appropriate.
  • Fallen London has these in the form of the Masters of the Bazaar. Turns out that they're Alien Space Bats in both the trope sense and the literal sense.
  • Fallout76: The main antagonists of the game are Schorchbeasts, giant bats that carry a disease that turns people and creatures infected with it into their monstrous servants. In combat they mainly attacks using echolocation systems that have evolved to fire damaging blasts of sound.
  • Final Fantasy XI: A sort of Dire Bat exists, but they don't really swarm. The normal, small bats do, however: three small bats are actually considered one monster.
  • Fortune Summoners: In caves, there are the Huge Bats, Monster Bats, Killer Bats, Vile Bats and Bat Giants.
  • Gamer 2: Giant flying bats appear as enemies.
  • Haunted House: The bat is one of the three enemies, along with the spiders and the ghost of Zachary Graves.
  • Hunt the Wumpus: A giant bat can swoop down and carry the player to a new location in the Wumpus's cave.
  • Kingdom Hearts has multiple examples, all as regular enemies:
  • The Nightwing from Monster Sanctuary is a monstrous bat known for flying through the night stealthily and drinking blood from its prey. They were primal monsters during the early days of humanity until their homes were pushed out by progress. They were more than eager to move into the Monster Sanctuary.
  • The Of Pen and Paper series:
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Keese are common enemies resembling regular bats in most regards, except for their common habit of being shrouded in fire, electricity or icy energy, which really helps these Goddamned Bats be a nuisance (alongside their generally small size and constant movement making them relatively difficult to hit in many appearances). Some in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword are undead, and the ones in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are flying Oculothoraxes more than anything else.
    • Vires are stronger enemies resembling humanoid bats (having been described as "a devil that controls the Keeses"), and split into multiple Keese when killed.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has Aches and Achemen, one-game enemies that resemble Keese and Vires in almost all respects save that Aches can transform into seemingly regular humans to spy for Ganon's forces.
    • Not content with just having Keese, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask alone also features Bad Bats, slightly larger jet black bat enemies with glaring red eyes to give them a spookier appearance. In Termina, Bad Bats are usually found in outdoor areas like hanging from trees around the Southern Swamp, while Keese dwell mainly within dungeons and act as they did in Ocarina of Time. Bad Bats are also prevalent throughout the Ikana region and dungeons there, adding an extra layer of ghostliness to them over their smaller counterparts.
      • Introduced along with Bad Bats is the vampire-like Mini-Boss Gomess, who doesn't so much resemble a bat-like creature as much as a ghoulish scythe-wielding figure that's comprised by swarming Bad Bats, who cover its glowing core and have to be fended off with Light Arrows to damage the boss. Gomess is somewhat to Bad Bats what Vires are to Keese, and naturally it hasn't appeared outside of Majora's Mask alongside the bats that comprise it.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Ganon transforms into a giant bat after emerging out of Agahnim when Link beats him a second time. He can also create fire bats during his second phase.
  • MacBat 64: Journey of a Nice Chap: Macbat is, of course a bat. He is also a nice chap.
  • Metro 2033: The Demons, large, flying surface predators, allegedly evolved from tigers, though they resemble bats more than anything else.
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus: Seerook sprites look like bats that don't flap their wings, though official art makes them look like Samus's visor, the "ears", "wings" and "teeth" all being spikes. Drivel sprites look even more like bats given they do flap their wings, although official art makes them look much more alien. By contrast, gulluggs do have bat like wings in their official art, but not their sprites, which look like mosquitoes. Samus Returns give them models that are even more batty.
  • Might and Magic: Several games have enemy bats. They are not particularly dangerous, but they are rather unfriendly (and in Might & Magic VII, the most dangerous variant can attack you with fire).
  • Monster Eye have bat swarms in the caves and mines level which the player need to shoot at before they can be bitten. There's also a kaiju giant bat the size of a small aircraft serving as a boss.
  • Mother: A bat enemy by the name of Mr. Batty is a recurring mook throughout the trilogy. They seem to be more Played for Laughs, especially considering its battle theme in MOTHER 3 is a Suspiciously Similar Song version of the Batman (1966) theme...
  • NetHack, despite its deserved reputation, is another game that features bats who are fairly weak enemies. The offshoot Slash'EM includes some more deadly varieties.
  • Nexus War: Nexus Clash has the Revenant class, which can summon a swarm of bats as a pet, turn into a small bat for faster travel, or turn into a werebat for increased strength and the ability to see invisible characters with echolocation.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Online: Bats can be found in some caves and forests. Most of them aren't really a threat, but one variety — the Fire Bat — will explode upon death, causing moderate damage even to a high-level player.
  • Pokémon:
    • Zubat and its evolutions, which are also literal Goddamned Bats. They are often used by the various villainous teams in the series, with the team leaders for the third and fourth generation games using a Crobat as a sign of Pet the Dog (since Golbat only evolves with a high level of friendship).
    • Gligar and Gliscor appear to be a a cross between a bat and a scorpion. Funnily enough, the anime used Gligar rather than Zubat for its Batman parody.
    • Woobat and Swoobat are subversions. In the games, Swoobat gives off ultrasonic waves that actually put people in a better mood.
    • Pokémon X and Y introduce Noivern, a bat crossed with a dragon and a boombox along with its pre-evolution, Noibat.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon: One of the mascot legendaries, Lunala, is a massive celestial bat a good four meters (13.01 ft) tall, with a proportionally larger wingspan.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 0 has Billy and Rebbecca fight a giant bat, for bonus points in a church graveyard.
    • Resident Evil 5 has some kind of giant bat/insect creature as the boss for the second mission.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land featured three bats... as weapons! You catch them and use them against your enemies. However they are also known to have a chance of rebellion, unless Serene uses them. Serene herself also works with the iconography, bat wings and a large scythe like the grim reaper.
  • SaGa Frontier has a Bonus Boss in the form of the Abyss Bat.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has the Cacklebats, which are Risky's Tinkerbats after they are mutated into human-sized werebats by the Pirate Master's Dark Magic.
  • Smite: Camazotz, a Mayan bat deity, is playable as an Assassin-style God.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic 1, Batbrain is a robotic bat who inhabits Marble Zone. He hangs upside down, but flies toward Sonic when the latter approaches him.
    • In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Batbot is a robotic bat who inhabits Carnival Night Zone. He hangs motionless in mid-air either by himself or groups, but starts following the playable characters in circular patterns when they get close to him.
    • Sonic 3D Blast has Bat, a robotic bat who inhabits Volcano Valley Zone. He hovers around a fixed area of the stage and can only harm Sonic if the hedgehog bumps right into him.
    • Played with with Rouge the Bat. She's a Classy Cat-Burglar (with rather improbable goals) and generally on the evil side (especially in spinoffs), but closer to True Neutral and often acting as an Anti-Hero. She's a lot more like a real bat than usual, much like Korbat.
  • Super Mario Bros. has a lot of giant bat type enemies (Swoopers, Swampires, Swoopulas, Fangs, etc), most being roughly Mario or playable character sized and in some cases, annoying as they either swoop down or drain Mario's health. Antasma, the primary villain of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, is an anthropomorphic one, and is known as "the Bat King". Similarly, the Wario Land series has various kinds of creepy bats, from the annoying flying bomb-shaped bats which explode after attaching themselves to Wario, the bats in Wario Land 4 which turn him into a vampire just by touching him, the ones in Wario Land: Shake It! which just swarm him, and whatever the heck Catbat is actually meant to be (some kind of flying cat thing with bat wings for ears, a mechanical bat head on it's head, that floats like a ghost).
  • Terraria has many varieties of bats that all attack the player. Including literal bats out of hell in the game's Underworld.
  • Total War: Warhammer:
    • The Vampire Counts can field a large number of monstrous bats, with one unit so far representing the swarm of shrieking bats variety, with the rest being increasingly horrifying Dire Bats.
      • Fellbats are "small" (bird of prey-sized), expendable, and attack in large groups, used to harass and "tarpit" units.
      • Vargheists and the flightless, tank-sized Varghulfs are degenerate vampires who have lost themselves to their bloodthirst, the first through centuries of imprisonment and the second willingly.
      • Terrorgheists are the terrifying, undead husks of dragon-sized bats that live in the Sylvanian wilderness.
    • The undead pirates of the Vampire Coast use flocks of undead bats similar to the Counts', alongside much bigger, living bats that roost within their ships and which in battle carry zombie gunners in their claws.
    • Drycha's subfaction of the Wood Elves cannot recruit elven units but instead has access to a variety of bestial replacements, including flocks of gigantic cave bats.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: There are bats in the caves that you fight.
  • Viva Piñata has Sherbat. While sour it looks like a horror movie bat and makes other pinatas sick with its bite. Once you cure it (with garlic) it becomes... a rabbit-like thing with hilariously tiny wings.
  • Warcraft:
    • Dreadlords are demonic heroes with giant bat wings who can summon clouds of bats against enemies and regain life by attacking (and spread this to allied melee units). Despite the emphasis on melee combat, their race's hat is closer to The Chessmaster, what with manipulating heroes and villains to work for them.
    • The expansion introduces troll batriders, support fliers who can prevent buildings from being repaired and do massive damage to enemy fliers with a kamikaze move.
    • World of Warcraft:
      • One quest has you kill a giant bat named Duskwing. Giant bats are common in lots of places, and some are used as flying mounts.
      • The Forsaken and the Darkspear Trolls seem to have a particular affinity for bats, as their flight routes use them instead of the wyverns that the rest of the Horde prefers. They even use bats as bomber planes and Troll Druids transform into bats as their Flight Form instead of the usual birds that other Druid races use.
      • The Legion expansion adds felbats, which are giant, humanoid-ish bats used as attack beasts by the Burning Legion. Demon Hunters can get one as their class mount.

    Webcomics 
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe: One of the void beasts that the Everyman had to fight was a massive void bat with the wingspan of a hang glider that used high-pitched screeches to disorient its foes.
  • Charby the Vampirate: One of Charby's preferred forms is of a red-eyed white bat and he starts off the series proper as an unrepentant murderer that Kellwood's vampire hunters have been warned to avoid who casually kills people in relatively secluded places all over the city.
  • Skully from Furry Fight Chronicles is a powerful bat Combagal and one half of the Tendonchi Champions.
  • Girl Genius: A colony of "blood bats" make a brief appearance while the protagonists are in Castle Heterodyne. Fortunately, the heroes are able to leave the area before the creatures take flight. Also, one of the novelizations of the comic mention a "particularly large and grumpy" bat which managed to acquire something of a reputation before being shot down by one of Baron Wulfenbach's airships.
  • Sparklecare: Invoked with Kid Dies, a cute little bat girl. It's just her luck that she has a disease that causes her to vomit blood and dead fetuses. This scares the crap out of Barry the first time he's unlucky enough to witness it.
  • Supercell: Fiida Shfisgara, at least with her wings.

    Web Original 
  • Dreamscape: Vampire Lord can send out a swarm of bats from his cape to attack.
  • Gaia Online's vampires can turn into bat swarms according to the comics and single bats according to the vampire-themed items. The ones that appear in zOMG! have bat wings, but don't transform. zOMG! also has the bat-winged Clutch and Purse Animated, though they're not the worst of the Animated in Deadman's Pass.
  • Mortasheen has three, created by vampires to protect their larder of humans. There's Bullysnag, a gorilla-like bat that is trained to always go for the kneecaps when hunting, Clawsimon, a spotlight-like bat designed to stop escaping humans, and Chiraptor, who is the vampire equivalent of a hunting falcon. The actual bat vampire, Sinister, as it prefers to be left alone amongst its hordes of mind-controlled bats.
  • Neopets: Korbats are, in general, very cute. This makes them more like Real Life bats than usual! It's also played with in the case of the most prominent character who happens to be a Korbat, Lord Darigan. Introduced as the apparent Big Bad in the Champions of Meridell plot, we later learn that he and his people were victimized by the supposed "heroes", Meridell, when they stole the Orb, and cast a curse on them, despite Darigan's kingdom being pacifistic. Despite looking like a mixture of Man-Bat and a lich, Lord Darigan and his people are merely fighting to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Although they won the war, a Diabolus ex Machina ended with Darigan going Brainwashed and Crazy when the orb failed to work. Not only did King Skarl get away scot-free and earned a position in the Gallery of Heroes while Darigan was placed in the Gallery of Evil, Darigan's successor, Lord Kass, was far more monstrous. Fortunately, Lord Darigan returned from the dead and saved Meridell, forgiving them and trying to usher in a new era of peace. And yet Darigan's still in the Gallery of Evil with Kass and the like.
  • Serina: The tribbats — a lineage of flying tribbets, mammal analogues descended from ray-finned fish — include a few species of this sort. Some, like the flightless shadowstalker and steppestalker are a Shout-Out to After Man, see above.
    • The nightbiters are parasitic tribbats that are basically flying cookiecutter sharks, gnawing chunks of flesh off from giant herbivores. They are in turn preyed upon by the flapsnapper, a predator that devours other flyers whole and on the wing, but who in a bit of a subversion is actually beneficial to the nightbiters' victims as it keeps the pest populations down.
    • The aeracuda is a large, diurnal forest predator that uses its Nested Mouths to snap up prey both on the ground and the air, and can also take on much larger quarry.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots: Ancient Evil the Bloodwolf has an army of wolves with bat wings. Given that they come out of a portal to the "Netherworld", they are as close to literally being bats out of hell as it gets.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Wolf-bats. They're vampire bats with the legs, paws, and tail of wolves. In The Legend of Korra, one of the Pro-Bending team's names is the White Falls Wolf-bats. They even pull off a WWE-like entrance before their match.
  • Ben 10: Dr. Animo uses the Omnitrix's faceplate to mutate an ordinary bat with Heatblast's DNA, resulting in a giant, infernal bat.
  • Castlevania (2017): Dracula's army includes some fairly literal bats from Hell among its demonic ranks:
    • The weakest and most common members of the army, and the first seen, resemble twisted humanoid bats with both clawed arms and wings sprouting from their backs.
    • Demons more closely resembling actual bats, but the size of oxen and capable of running on all fours with their wings folded, are among the monsters that attack the Belmont manor in Season 2.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers
    • Subverted in the episode "Good Times, Bat Times": Yes, Foxglove is a bat. And yes, she is a witch's familiar. But no, she is anything but horrifying. Instead, she is a cute and lovable bat the size of a chipmunk and in love with Dale.
    • While the Jamaican fruit bats from "Battle of the Bulge" may work for Fat Cat, they are more like some quite messy comic relief with their emphasis on "Jamaican".
  • Filly Funtasia: Battiwigs, of the dire variety; though to say that he's scary would be a big overstatement. He does work on the side of evil, but he's a Harmless Villain – and small potatoes compared to his boss.
  • Godzilla: The Series: Godzilla has fought a Kaiju-sized monster bat that could weaponize its echolocation.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "The Ghost of Paradise Estate, Part 1", to scare the baby ponies, the ghost turns itself into a fearsome bat larger than they are.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a few varieties of bats. Normal bats, though "dark and mysterious", are perfectly viable pets, and Fruit Bats (literally bats with fruit-like features) are entirely harmless, though inconveniently ravenous at times — a flock may chew on your fruit salad hat if you're not careful. Both kinds aren't any less cute than any other small animal in the series. Vampire bats are larger and have a more frightening appearance and don't stay in only a section of the orchard, though they're still not malicious. However, "Bats!" gave us Flutterbat, a bat-pony with a thirst for apples.
  • Camazotz from Mayan Mythology appears as a one-episode monster in Onyx Equinox.
  • In Primal (2019), the protagonists Spear and Fang are attacked by a flock of monster bats during a blood moon. The bats are blood-red, several times bigger than a human, strong enough to carry off dinosaurs, and surprisingly intelligent as well as loyal servants of an even more monstrous spider.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, the 2018 version of Hordak has bat-like features, including long bat-like ears, a bat-like nose, fangs, and claws. The cloned fetuses in his lab also have bat wings.
  • The ThunderCats (2011) version of Mumm-Ra is a type three bat humanoid, complete with leaf-nosed snout, gaining bat wings in his One-Winged Angel form.
  • Transformers: Ratbat, one of Soundwave's cassettes, turns into a bat (as his name belies). In the comics, as a fuel auditor (who later spent some time leading the original Earthbound Decepticons) he was obsessed with using Energon efficiently. Decepticon hypnotist Mindwipe falls into this well complete with Hungarian Accent.

 
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Mictlantecuhtli

A gigantic, bat-like Infernal Demon that lurks in one of the darkest and deepest of Inferno's endless caves. Although Mictlantecuhtli looks like one Infernal Demon with four wings, it is actually a pair of brothers merged together and acting as one, with the red-bodied older brother on top, and the blue-bodied younger brother on the bottom. With their light body, they fly swiftly and attack enemies by firing bursts of magic energy. They can also change formation to align horizontally, which allows them to emit waves of spiritual energy like sonar, using it to detect things like invisible objects and those hiding between dimensions. Among humans, the appearance of Mictlantecuhtli is said to herald the coming of terrible plagues.

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