70 Incredible Facts about Bats


Incredible Facts about Bats

  • Bats are the only true flying mammals in the world.
  • A tiny pipistrelle can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night.
  • While others can glide, bats are the only mammals capable of continued flight.
  • Most bats feed on insects, while others eat fruit, fish, or even blood!
  • There are 3 species of vampire bats that feed solely on blood.
  • Vampire bats have small and extremely sharp teeth which are capable of piercing an animal’s skin (humans included) without them even noticing.
  • Vampire bats can carry rabies, making their bites potentially dangerous.
  • Some bats live by themselves while others live in caves with thousands of other bats.
  • Bats can live for over 20 years.
  • Pteropus bats (also known as flying foxes or fruit bats) are the largest in the world.
  • Bats are more closely related to humans than they are to mice.
  • Things we get from bat-adapted plants include dates, vanilla, bananas, breadfruit, guavas, Iroko timber, balsa wood, sisal, Tequila, and chewing gum!
  • The majority of the world's bats eat insects - just like British bats. In the tropics bats also eat foods like fruit, flowers, frogs, fish, blood, even other bats.
  • Bats usually only have one baby a year and can live for up to 30 years
  • Baby bats are called pups, and, like humans, bats normally give birth to one baby at a time or occasionally twins.
  • The world’s smallest bat is called Kitti’s hog-nosed bat and it is as light as a bumblebee.
  • The world’s largest bat is the giant golden-crowned flying fox, which has a wingspan of up to 6 feet.
  • Natural habitats for bats include hedgerows woodlands and near to ponds – that’s why we have bats at our forest locations.
  • Bats are nocturnal, and they hibernate during winter, venturing out for a drink if the weather is mild. The best time to see them is from May to September on warm nights, just after sunset.
  • Over 500 plant species rely on bats to pollinate them, including species of mango, cocoa, and banana.
  • Bats in the UK are Indicator Species - the mine canaries of biodiversity. Changes in the bat population highlight imbalances in nature such as a decline in insect numbers or destruction of wildlife habitats.
  • Bats use echolocation to get around in the dark. Bats don't see very well and do a lot of living at night, so they have to rely on navigational methods other than sight. Bats send out beeps and listen for variations in the echoes that bounce back at them and that's how they get around. Bats are nocturnal, mostly because it's easier to hunt bugs and stay out of the way of predators when it's dark. Bats do use their eyesight to see things in the daytime, but most bat business is done under the blanket of night for convenience.
  • Bats are just misunderstood. They're pretty incredible animals as you'll see on the next page.
  • When you finish reading our list of incredible bat facts, you may have a much different opinion of bats than you did before.
  • Bats make up a quarter of all mammals. Yep, you read that right. A quarter of all mammals are bats. There are more than 1,100 species of bats in the world. That's a lot of bats!
  • More than 50 percent of bat species in the United Statesare either in severe decline or are listed as endangered. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. Industry, deforestation, pollution, and good old-fashioned killing have wiped out many bats and their habitats. For information on how to help keep bats around, contact your local conservation society.
  • Bats are the only mammals that can fly. Their wings are flaps of skin joining their fingers together.
  • Bats are not blind. In fact, they can see quite well in the half light. However, like dolphins they mainly use echolocation - high-pitched sounds that bounce back, allowing them to build a picture of the landscape in which they are flying.
  • Using echolocation, a bat can even detect the size and shape of an insect and in which direction it is traveling. Before eating it.
  • Bats eat thousands of insects. A pipistrelle can easily get through 3000 midges on a single night.
  • There really are vampire bats. Three species of bats found in Central and South America feed solely on blood. None have been recorded as taking human form.
  • Fewer than 10 people in the last 50 years have contracted rabiesfrom North American bats. Due to movies and television, bats are thought to be germ machines, bringing disease and toxins to innocent victims. Not true. Bats avoid people. If you are bitten by a bat, go to the doctor, but don't start making funeral arrangements -- you'll probably be fine.
  • Cold night? Curl up next to a bat! Inside those drafty caves, they like so much, bats keep warm by folding their wings around them, trapping air against their bodies for instant insulation.
  • An anticoagulant found in vampire bat salivamay soon be used to treat human cardiac patients. The same stuff that keeps blood flowing from vampire bats' prey seems to keep blood flowing in human beings, too. Scientists in several countries are trying to copy the enzymes found in vampire bat saliva to treat heart conditions and stop the effects of strokes in humans.
  • Bats have only one pup a year. Most mammals of smallish size have way more offspring than that. Think cats, rabbits, and rats.
  • Bats are the only mammals able to fly. And you thought it was the winged marmoset! Bats are exceptional in the air. Their wings are thin, giving them what is called, in flight terms, "airfoil." The power bats have to push forward is called "propulsion."
  • A single brown bat can catch around 1,200 mosquito-size insects in one hour. In Bracken Cave, Texas, it's estimated that the 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live there eat about 200 tons of insects . . . each night.
  • Vampire bats don't suck blood. They lap it up. Calm down. There are only three species of vampire bats in the whole world. If you are traveling in Central or South America, however, you might see a vampire bat bite a cow and then lick the blood from the wound -- no sucking involved.
  • Bats don't have "fat days." The metabolism of a bat is enviable -- they can digest bananas, mangoes, and berries in about 20 minutes.
  • The average bat will probably outlive your pet dog. The average lifespan of a bat varies, but some species of brown bat can live to be 30 years old. Considering that other small mammals live only two years or so, that's impressive.
  • Bats wash behind their ears. Bats spend more time grooming themselves than even the most image-obsessed teenager. They clean themselves and each other meticulously by licking and scratching for hours.
  • There are 18 species of bats in the UK –that’s over 20% of all our UK mammal species.
  • They account for only 1% of the UK mammal population at around 2.5 million bats.
  • The 2 main species of Pipistrelle bat account for 2 million of our bats, which means that the other 16 species are quite rare. Indeed, there is only 1 known greater mouse-eared bat, who has been in hibernation since 2002!
  • Fossil evidence suggests that bats were probably flying around when dinosaurs roamed the earth 65 million years ago. It is only recent human activity, such as removing hedgerows and using chemicals on crops that is endangering their survival.
  • Not only do bats sleep upside down but most of them also rest, mate, and even give birth upside down.
  • All bats in the UK are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside act, 1981.
  • For tiny mammals’ bats can live surprisingly long lives. If they can survive their first winter, 5 or 6 years is usual for a pipistrelle, but some species may live over 30 years.
  • Known as the 'water bat', Daubenton's bats fish insects from the water's surface with their large feet or tail. You can spot them in action at Deerpark.
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