The Bat has many different symbolic meanings among different groups; however, it is often used as a symbol of hope. In this context, a bat reminds us of a person’s strong foundation that can withstand adverse circumstances. It remembers that when things get tough in life, the person has the resources, faith, and ability to continue moving forward.
Bat tattoos appeal to a very wide audience, which may range from gothic or sinister meanings to one filled with mystique and a positive message where, for example, in China, they mean good luck. Because of the wide range of meanings, bat tattoos are an appealing form of body art for many people.
Bats have been used to symbolize everything from the evilest characters to be a force for good. In reality, they are amazing little creatures who do enormous good to nature, helping to propagate new growth in rain forests and acting as a natural, healthy pesticide that keeps crops insect-free.
The Meanings Of Bats When Used In A Tattoo
Bats represent many potential symbols that range from prime evil to supernatural good.
As such, they are a perfect subject for tattoo artists who can use their skills to depict bats in any light they choose.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Means A Good Omen (China)
To the Chinese, a bat symbolizes happiness, a long life, and good luck.
When five bats are included in the tattoo, it represents a greater than average long life, wealth, good luck, happiness, and prosperity.
If two bats are included in the tattoo, it represents double happiness.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Means Communication, Friendliness
Some Native American groups use bats as a symbol of communication and friendliness between different groups because the Bat rarely live in isolation and only thrive in highly giant, social colonies with millions of other bats.
In colder climates, the colony of bats cluster together to create mutual warmth and security.
When The Tattoo Is Of A Red Bat, It Means A Vast Fortune
When the tattooed Bat is painted red, the recipient has or will have a vast fortune.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Mean Darkness And Night-Life
Bats have superior sonar and use echolocation to determine the object’s size and distance. It allows them to function primarily at night when the ability to see is less important.
It has given rise to some tattoo artists depicting bats as dark and associated with nightlife.
In this context, the wearer of a bat tattoo will be a night owl and will be very involved in the nightlife entertainment scene.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Can Mean A Rebirth
Bats hibernate during the winter, many of them in caves, and when Spring arrives, they will set off with a huge activity, as they start hunting for nutrition.
This spectacle is very much like a rebirth and is sometimes portrayed by tattoo artists as such.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Means Protector
The Bat Man film franchise has portrayed the star as a mysterious caped crusader battling the forces of evil with high-tech “bat” equipment.
In this context, tattoos mean that the recipient is a force for good, using unconventional means to fight the evil surrounding.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Means Transformation, Adaptability
The only mammals which can fly in real and sustained flight are bats, and as such, they are often included in a tattoo to represent
Bats are highly adaptable because, unlike birds, they can’t launch themselves into the air from the ground.
There are two reasons for this.
- The bats’ wings don’t produce enough lift to take off from a dead stop.
- Their hind legs are small and not strong enough to run fast enough to achieve a takeoff speed.
The adaptability part of their nature comes into play, so they hang upside down from caves, bridges, and other secluded spots, where they can drop off when they need to fly.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Means Wisdom, Longevity, And Intuition
They have a heightened audio sensitivity and can travel even when it is pitch black.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Means The Underworld
In Western culture, bats have often been associated with dark and evil, otherworldly forces.
Despite being such an amazing creature, the vampire bat is the first to come to mind for the average Westerner. They are seen as evil bloodsucking creatures waiting to pounce on “innocent” humans who enter their habitat.
It doesn’t help that they have short snouts, large ears like a rodent, beady eyes, razor-sharp fangs, fur-covered torsos, and translucent wings with the wing ribs (four long fingers and a thumb) visible.
However unfair it is, novels such as Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula and Hollywood blockbusters have often portrayed demons or other evil “spirit” creatures as bats.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Symbolizes Coexistence, Symbiosis
Bats are incredible creatures, and when they populate a farm, they bring a tremendously symbiotic relationship with them.
- Insect-eating microbats consume millions of bugs a night and act as natural pest control for plants.
- As nectar-drinking bats move around, they pollinate plants as bees do during the day, enabling them to produce fruit. There are more than 500 plant species, including mangoes, bananas, and avocados, which depend exclusively on bats for pollination.
- Fruit-eating bats are an enormous help in dispersing seeds that cause the rainforests can grow, which in turn helps mitigate widespread deforestation.
When used, in this context, in a tattoo, the recipient is displaying a positive side of their personality and showing that they add as much value to relationships as they receive.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Symbolizes Deceit
Some Native American tribes held that bats represented a deceitful spirit.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Means Rage And Jealousy
In folklore, bats are often depicted as evil beings filled with rage and jealousy.
The underlying cause was that they were jealous of the birds with their beautiful feathers.
Several tales originating in Nigerian and Native American tribal folklore describe a bat’s tendency to cling to darkness as evidence of this fact.
Bats Used In A Tattoo Means Forbidden Things
In the bible Deuteronomy 14 vs. 18, we are instructed not to eat any “detestable thing,” one of which
Verse 18 describes “the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.”
While there may have been perfectly sound biological reasons for this, the symbol of a bat has come to be used as an image of disobedience and rebellion.
Having a bat tattoo will cause much discussion regarding its meaning and purpose, making it a great conversation piece. Whether you want to depict a negative sign or decide on the opposite meaning, it will be a welcome part of your body art.
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Design and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):