Basic Facts About Bats
Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. With extremely elongated fingers and a wing membrane stretched between, the bat’s wing anatomically resembles the human hand. Almost 1,000 bat species can be found worldwide. In fact, bats make up a quarter of all mammal species on earth!
© Kevin Davis
70% of bats consume insects, sharing a large part of natural pest control. There are also fruit-eating bats; nectar-eating bats; carnivorous bats that prey on small mammals, birds, lizards and frogs; fish-eating bats, and perhaps most famously, the blood-sucking vampire bats of South America.
While some bat populations number in the millions, others are dangerously low or in decline.
Did You Know?
A single little brown bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in a single hour, and is one of the world's longest-lived mammals for its size, with life spans of almost 40 years.
Bats can be found almost anywhere in the world except the polar regions and extreme deserts.
Some bats have evolved a highly sophisticated sense of hearing. They emit sounds that bounce off of objects in their path, sending echoes back to the bats. From these echoes, the bats can determine the size of objects, how far away they are, how fast they are traveling and even their texture, all in a split second
Bats find shelter in caves, crevices, tree cavities and buildings. Some species are solitary while others form colonies of more than a million individuals.
Did You Know?
Giant flying foxes that live in Indonesia have wingspans of nearly six feet!
To survive the winter some species of bat migrate, others hibernate, and yet others go into torpor (regulated hypothermia that can last from a few hours to a few months).
Gestation: 40 days - 6 months (bigger bats have longer gestation periods)
Litter Size: Mostly one pup
For their size, bats are the slowest reproducing mammals on Earth. At birth, a pup weighs up to 25 percent of its mother’s body weight, which is like a human mother giving birth to a 31 pound baby! Offspring typically are cared for in maternity colonies, where females congregate to bear and raise the young. Male bats do not help to raise the pups
Size: Bats are divided into two suborders: Megachiroptera, meaning large bat, and Microchiroptera, meaning small bat. The largest bats have a 6 foot wingspan. The bodies of the smallest bats are no more than an inch long.
Lifespan: Most bats live longer than most mammals of their size. The longest known lifespan of a bat in the wild is 30 years for a little brown bat.