A flying mammal that, apart from its large wings of membranous skin, resembles the mouse. The Scriptures classify the bat among the unclean flying creatures that were not to be eaten by the Israelites. (Le 11:19; De 14:18) About 20 different species of bats (Chiroptera) are found in Israel today.
During the daylight hours bats generally roost head downward in dark caves or deserted buildings, then they come forth at dusk to hunt for food during the hours of darkness. Where large numbers of them roost in one place, there is a repulsive, mousy odor. In some caves bat manure has built up into layers of considerable thickness, providing a valuable source of fertilizer. It is doubtless because of the bat’s habit of roosting in dark places that the prophet Isaiah speaks of throwing gods of gold and silver to the bats. A place of darkness and uncleanness is all such idols deserve, instead of the places of honor and prominence accorded them by their deceived worshipers.—Isa 2:20.