While some mammals can glide, Bats are the only ones that can truly fly, and throughout history they inspired us, frightened us, and even made their way into myths around the world. In today’s article, we’re going to discuss bat tattoos, elaborating on their history, meanings, and designs, to tell you a little more about these amazing creatures.
These animals are certainly amazing, so it’s no wonder that they quickly made their way into the world of skin art, so read on and we’ll tell you more about the ‘why’ of it!
What is the History of Bat Tattoos?
Bats are famous all across the world, with many myths and legends surrounding the origins, functions, and the symbolism behind these fascinating creatures. For instance, one cute little tale from Polish folklore tells us that the bat first arose when a mouse has a taste of a blessed Easter dinner, instantly earning wings!
For the Navajo tribe, the bat was one of the first creatures that existed, circling in the darkness with 12 insects. Existing when the world was still talk, the Navajo associate the bat with ‘Talking God’, one of the most powerful deities in their pantheon.
In Apache myth we are told that the bat once had feathers, but the other creatures kept stealing them, and the last straw was when a hero named Jonayaiyin gave the bat some eagle feathers to replace his lost ones. When these feathers too, were stolen, he told the bat that he must be content flying without his feathers forever.
Of course, the most famous of bats in history would be the vampire bats – associated with Dracula and other vampires and considered a stealthy creature of the night on its own. All these stories go to show that, our history with bats is a long one, dating back to bygone times when we still shared caves with these fascinating creatures.
What Do Bat Tattoos Symbolize?
Bats are symbolic of a lot of different things, with the first association that is the most prominent being the nighttime. As they see things by bouncing sounds in the darkness, bats have always been considered masters of the night, and so they’ve adopted dark symbolisms with this unchallenged status.
Bat tattoos and their symbolism is going to depend the most on what type of bat you select. For instance, Fruit Bats are incredibly cute and considered a ‘friendlier’ message than the bloodsucking Vampire bats of South America and the West Indies.
Bats can also represent the alternate form of the supernatural vampire, who is said to be able to turn themselves into fog or into a bat to quickly escape, especially when the sun is about to rise.
What your own tattoo means will be something for you to decide, but there are lots of myths and types of bats for you to choose from to ensure that the resulting tattoo is both beautiful and deeply personal.
What Do Bat Tattoos Mean?
Most commonly, bat tattoos mean a love for the night. That might be about vampire superstitions or even a simple love of that most wonderful of holidays – Halloween! This doesn’t have to be the meaning, however, as there are so many different kinds of bats.
For instance, in the Philippines you can find the world’s largest bat, the ‘Golden Fox’. This gentle giant measures about 5 and a half feet and eats only fruits. The Fruit bat is another popular option, often shown with his cheeks full of delicious fruit, and this could mean that the owner loves Nature’s bounty and its creatures.
The famous Bacardi Rum logo incorporates a fruit bat, because they were associated with good fortune and more importantly with family – after all, bats sleep and live in large colonies, so bat tattoos can mean that someone puts family above everything else.
Think about what you want to say with your own Bat tattoo and then build on it from there. With so many myths and meanings to choose from, you could even select a legend that reflects your ancestry and create quite the meaningful bat tattoo in the process!
Characteristics and Styles of Bat Tattoos
Bats are really a fun option, not just for their appearance, but for the color aesthetics. We tend to think of them as just being black, but bats come in a range of colors, including tan, red, brown, black, and there’s even a species called “Myotis nimbaenis” that is bright orange!
As such of them like to eat fruits, you can also depict the colorful fruit with your bat, and you can do this in a jaw-dropping photorealistic style or you can have a bit of fun with it, incorporating the cultural style that reflects the mythology that you associate your bat tattoo with.
You can make it as serious or as lighthearted as you like and you should exercise this option – it’s your bat, after all!
Where Do Bat Tattoos Usually Go?
Bat tattoos can go on the outer arm and be displayed in a number of ways. Imagine small bats hanging, circling your arm, or you might depict one in flight on your shoulder.
As a backpiece, a cavern with hanging bats might look absolutely amazing, or if the creature is more personal for you then you might put a bat tattoo on your hip. Decide first whether this skin art is going to be something that everyone is meant to see, or if you prefer it to be hidden like the bat itself often is.
Once you’ve decided this, the perfect placement will come to you in time.
In this article, we’ve talked about Bat tattoos and what they mean, where they usually go, and more. These creatures have an incredibly rich mythology that we’ve barely been able to touch on today, so if you are considering a bat tattoo, we urge you to Google ‘bat myths and legends’ to learn a little more about them.
These amazing wonders of Nature have been with us for so long that you’d be hard put to find a richer vein or myth and legend to draw on. Be it lost feathers, Navajo creation myth, or even the gothic favorite of vampires, Bat tattoos definitely have a symbolic versatility that you just don’t see every day!