Facts about Bats
- Bats are mammals
- Although there are mammals that can glide, bats are the only mammal that can fly using their own wing power.
- Bats fly by using their wings. Their wings are made of skin stretched by extremely long fingers. Some bats have larger wings because they also have skin stretched between their back legs and tail.
- Like all mammals, bats have body hair.
- There are over 1000 different species of bats.
- Overall, bats have the widest range of foods they eat for any type of mammal. Different species of bats eat things like insects, frogs, lizards, other bats, fish, fruit, pollen, nectar and even blood.
- The majority of bat species (over 625) eat insects.
- Bats use echolocation to navigate and find food. Echolocation is like radar. The bat makes high pitch noises at a fast rate. The sounds bounce off nearby object and reflect back to the back. The bat is then able to use the information to form a map to avoid objects and locate food.
- Most bats have large ears to help with their echolocation.
- Bat species have a wide range in size. The largest bats, such as the flying fox bats, have wing spans over 6 feet (2 meters). The smallest bats are also the smallest mammals. The bumblebee bat (also known as Kitti's hognosed bat), may look like the size of an insect. This type of bat only weighs 1/10 of an ounce (2 grams).
- Bats roost when they sleep (sleep upside down). Holding on takes very little effort for a bat. Sleeping upside down helps keep bats safe and allows them to quickly fly away and land.
- Bats live a relatively long time for a small mammal. Bats typically live as long as 30 years.
- Bats are found in six of the seven continents. The only continent where bats are not found is Antarctica.
- Bats in cold weather regions hiberate in the winter. During this time bats sleep and live off the stored fat in their body.
- Bats are a very important part of the ecosystem. Insect-eating bats eat a large amount of pest insects each night. Without bats, there would certainly be more insects. Pollinating bats are very helpful for fruit and plants. In some places bats are the only pollinator of bananas.
Drawing showing the parts of a bat
Bats roost - or hang upside down