Interesting Facts About Bats

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Interesting Facts About Bats 2017-09-10T09:30:47+00:00
  • interesting facts about batsBat dropping is called guano and is an important fertilizer in many tropical regions because of its high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen.
  • Bats are not blind and, in fact, many bats can see quite well; some species can even detect ultraviolet light. They also have excellent echolocation, which means, contrary to urban legend, they would not get tangled in people’s hair
  • In the film Batman Begins, viewers learn that Bruce Wayne was attacked by bats when he fell into a deep hole. When Alfred asks Bruce, “Why bats?” Bruce replies “Bats frighten me. It’s time my enemies share my dread.”
  • Most bats rest, sleep, mate, and give birth upside down.
  • Bracken Bat Cave in Texas is the largest known bat colony in the world. Over 20 million bats live in the cave, which is more bats than there are people living in Mumbai, India—one of the world’s largest human cities. When the bats leave the cave, the group is so large that it looks like a huge storm on radar.
  • Some Mexican free-tailed bats can fly up to 250 miles (402 km) in a single night. They can fly up to 10,000 feet (3,048 m) high and reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour
  • A small colony of bats can eat over one ton of insects in one year, or more than 600 million bugs.
  • A single bat can eat more than 600 bugs in one hour, which is like a person eating 20 pizzas a night.
  • According to Bat Conservation International, 150 big brown bats can eat enough cucumber beetles in one summer to save farmers a billion dollars a year.
  • The world’s largest bat is the giant golden-crowned flying fox, a rare fruit bat that is facing extinction due to hunting . It has a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m).
  • There are over 1,100 bat species in the world—only rodents have a greater number of species. In the United States, there are about 45 kinds of bats; the three most common are the Eptiesicus fuscus (big brown bat), Myotis lucifugus (little brown bat), and Tadarida brasilienis (Mexican free-tailed bat). Only three species of bats are vampire bats.
  • Some seeds will not sprout unless they have passed through the digestive tracts of a bat. Additionally, bats spread millions of seeds every year from the ripe fruit they eat. Approximately 95% of the reforestation of the tropical rainforest is a result of seed dispersal from bats.
  • Vampire bats do not actually “suck” blood. Instead, they typically “lap” up two teaspoons of blood a night with their tongues. The blood moves through the bat’s mouth in two channels under its tongue. Its body uses only red blood cells, and within two minutes of starting to eat, the bat’s body rids itself of blood plasma in the form of urine.
  • More than half of all bats in the U.S. are endangered or in decline. Both loss of habitat and a mysterious illness called “White-Nose Syndrome” (which has affected over a million bats) are major reasons for the decline.
  • The scientific name for bats, Chiroptera, is from the Greek cheir = hand + pteron = wing, or “hand wing.”
  • There are two main groups of bats: larger, Old World, fruit-eating mega bats (Megachiroptera) and microbats (Microchiroptera).
  • Megabats are also known as fruit bats or flying foxes and typically live in warm climates. They use their large eyes to find food in the dark and they tend to roost in trees rather than in caves, crevices, or old buildings. Microbats are generally much smaller and use echolocation to find insects. Microbats are typically found all over the world, including the U.S. Not all megabats are larger than microbats.
  • There are several differences between megabats and microbats. The megabat has two claws, one on its thumb and one on its next finger. Microbats only have one claw, on the thumb. Megabats have better developed brains than microbats and they also rely more on their senses (sight and smell) and less on echolocation. A roosting megabat will bend its neck toward its chest and look at the world upside down. A roosting microbat will bend its neck toward its back and look at the world right-side up.
  • Bats are more efficient fliers than birds due to their multi-jointed wings
  • A single brown bat (myotis) lives longer than most equally sized mammals, with a lifespan of nearly 40 years.
  • Approximately 70% of bats eat insects. The rest are frugivores, or fruit eaters.
  • Bats are the slowest reproducing mammals in the world for their size, and pregnancy is longer in bats than in other animals of their size.
  • Scientists believe that bats first appeared 65-100 million years ago, the same time as the dinosaurs. The earliest known megabats lived 35 million years ago. Many scientists believe that megabats may be more closely related to primates (monkeys, apes, and humans) than they are to other microbats.
  • Bat dropping is called guano and is an important fertilizer in many tropical regions because of its high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen.
  • Bats are not blind and, in fact, many bats can see quite well; some species can even detect ultraviolet light. They also have excellent echolocation, which means, contrary to urban legend, they would not get tangled in people’s hair.
  • Most bats are brown and black, but a few are colorful shades of orange or red.
  • Bats can hear frequencies between 20 Hz and 120,000 Hz. Humans can hear between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Dogs can hear between 40 Hz and 60,000 Hz.
  • Vampire bats are the only mammals in the world that live entirely on blood.
  • During the U.S. civil war, bat droppings were used to make gunpowder.
  • Wind turbines kill tens of thousands of North American bats every year. Rather than being struck by turbines, many bats appear to be killed by a sudden drop in air pressure near the spinning blades. The tiny blood vessels in their delicate lungs explode.
  • In 600 B.C., the Greek Aesop told a fable about a bat that borrowed money to start a business. The business failed and the bat had to hide during the day to avoid the people it owed money to. According to Aesop, that is why bats come out just at night.
  • Bats can spread histoplasmosis (“Cave disease” or “Darling’s disease”), which is a very rare fungus, and rabies. However, the chance of a person dying from a bat is less than one in a million. A person has a better chance of falling in a bathtub and dying.
  • In the film Batman Begins, viewers learn that Bruce Wayne was attacked by bats when he fell into a deep hole. When Alfred asks Bruce, “Why bats?” Bruce replies “Bats frighten me. It’s time my enemies share my dread.”
  • Most bats rest, sleep, mate, and give birth upside down. A bat that dies while roosting will continue to hang upside until something shakes it loose.
  • To sleep, bats hang upside down so they can fly away quickly if needed.
  • For their body size, bats have larger brains than birds.
  • Bat wings are made from finger bones covered by thin layers of skin. The wing membranes of a bat make up about 95% of its body surface area. A bat’s wing membrane helps the bat regulate body temperature, blood pressure, water balance, and gas exchange.
  • No vampire bats live in the U.S. except in zoos.
  • Only about 5% of all U.S. caves have the right temperature and water conditions suitable for bats.
  • A bat uses 30-60 days of stored energy to wake up out of hibernation. That is why it is so important to not disturb hibernating bats.
  • Three states in the U.S. have an official state bat. Virginia has the Virginia big-eared bat and Texas and Oklahoma have the Mexican free-tailed bat.
  • While some bats roost in groups with thousands or even millions of other bats, hoary bats and red bats are unusual in that they roost alone.
  • Most female bats fly with their young clinging to them, and some species have false nipples that their pups grasp during flight.