Interesting Facts about Bats

The animal kingdom is filled with animals that have a bad reputation. Bats are one of them. But you shouldn’t judge by appearance or folklore. Here are some fascinating and amazing facts about them.

The majority of people know only the bad stuff from myths when it comes to bats. These mammals are considered creepy and disgusting. When talking about them, humans think of Dracula, weird sleeping habits (upside down), rabies and so on. Even so, bats are great once you get to know more about them. Also, they indirectly help people by feeding on insects that damage crops.

Below is some useful information and facts on these misunderstood nocturnal creatures:

  • worldwide, there are 1,100 bat species. In fact only the US has 40 species. Britain has 18 species of bats. There are 2 types of bats: microbats and megabats. The Flying Fox is the largest of them all (2.2 lbs or 998g and 5-6 feet or 1.5-1.8m). The smallest is the Bumble Bee Bat (which lives in Thailand). The latter can weigh 0.07 ounces (2g); its height is 1.25 inches (or 3 cm). The largest number of bats is in Mexico: 1.5 million. Despite what you may think, vampire bats aren’t that many; only 3 have been discovered;bat-anatomy
  • a bat is the world’s only flying mammal. They fly at an average speed of 60 mph. Bats push forward by propulsion. A bat’s wings are very thin and they look like our hands from an anatomical point of view;
  • the habitat of a bat doesn’t include the following regions: the Arctic, several islands and Antarctica. Apart from these, they thrive in woods, rain forests, and farmland. They also like cities and mountains. Barns, caves, trees and mines are some of their favorite places. These offer protection and a great way to take care of their offspring;
  • bats live in colonies. These are made of up to 1,000 individuals. But there are also species which live on their own;

    a-colony-of-bats

    A colony of fruit bats

  • these flying mammals eat different stuff. Some of them are carnivores (frogs, birds, small mammals, and lizards are among their favorites). Others prefer fruit. Then there are bats which eat insects or flowers. In fact, 70% are natural pest controllers because they consume different insects that affect people’s crops. A bat can eat, in 1 hour, 1,200 mosquitoes. Certain bats have nectar in their diet. Other bat species drink the blood of animals. They don’t suck it, though. Instead, bats lick the blood of deer and cattle after a V-shaped cut is performed on them;
  • during cold months, a bat will either hibernate, migrate or go into torpor. The latter means they can regulate hypothermia. Another form of interesting behavior is echolocation. Because they cannot see that well with their eyes, bats emit high-frequency yells. The sound then bounces off various objects. Echoes are afterwards sent back to a bat. The latter then interprets the speed, location, size, texture, and distance of these objects;vampire-bat
  • the bat has one of the most original mating habits. A female and a male will meet for breeding in a hibernacula. This is a hibernation place. Mating is then done in private. Researchers think that a female bat selects, as its potential mate, a male which has the most agility. Mating happens between during late summer months and early autumn ones. The female bat will go through a 40 days’ – 6 months’ gestation period. Bats have 1 baby bat in total. The latter’s known as a “pup”. Since the bat is a mammal, its offspring drinks milk from its mother. Bats have something called maternity colonies. Only females care for their pups there.

Other interesting bat facts are yet to come:

  • a bat will live more than 30 years in the wild;
  • a pup’s scent and voice are both unique; that’s why, their moms have no problem locating them among millions of other babies;
  • digestion takes up to 20 minutes;
  • they carry rabies, but less than 10 people have contracted this disease in the past 50 years from North American bats;
  • guano is the name of a bat’s dropping; it is known as a very powerful fertilizer;
  • their teeth are extra sharp;
  • a vampire bat’s saliva has a very useful anticoagulant; people with heart disease have been found to benefit from it;
  • over 250 species of bats are threatened, vulnerable or in danger of becoming extinct (according to the Red List from the International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Did our article change your mind on bats? Tell us below.

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