I happen to love bats. I think they’re adorable. You?
Just look at him, all wrapped up in his wings. So cute. It’s okay if you don’t agree, but here are some bat facts that may make you appreciate our leathery winged friends even if you don’t find them cuddly.
- Some bats are the size of a jellybean, while others have a wingspan as long as an average human.
- Bats have perfectly good eyes for daylight, so the expression “blind as a bat” isn’t really accurate. What bats don’t have is night vision, which hinders their nighttime hunting.
- Baby bats are called pups.
- The place where a bat sleeps is called its “roost.” Bats hang upside down in their roosts when they sleep. Some caves house thousands of bats at once.
- Bats have existed for possibly over 50 million years.
- Vampire bats prey mainly on cows, horses and other large mammals. They rarely bite humans.
- Some bats eat fruit, while others eat insects.
- Bats have a thumb and four fingers just like humans.
- Bats are the only mammals that can fly.
You have to admit bats are cool, right? That’s why we have to support organizations currently helping bats that suffer from White-nose Syndrome. This is a cold-loving fungus that infects bats causing them to awaken more frequently during hibernation. When bats do this, they use up their stored fat that helps them get through the winter. Many bats with this disease emerge from hibernation too soon. They either freeze to death as they fly around in winter weather or starve.
Bats are a part of this planet, and the more we know about them, the more we can make sure they continue to thrive here with us.
Assignment: For more information about bats, visit Bat Conservation International’s Kidz Cave, then check out some bat species photos and facts here.
Challenge: Go Bat Watching. Use the following tips to increase your chances of a successful watch:
- Dawn and dusk are the best times to spot bats as they begin and end their night flights.
- Pick an open spot where you can see bats silhouetted against the lighter sky.
- Look for areas where night-flying insects abound; areas near water are the best.
- Flood lights and street lights that attract insects may also attract bats.
- When you find bats, listen to their clicks and squeaks so you can follow their flight paths after dark.
- DO NOT try to find day roosts or watch bats during the day. Bats may abandon roosts if they are disturbed in any way.
- DO NOT disturb hibernating bats in the winter. One disturbance can cause a bat to use up to 60 days of fat reserves needed over their winter hibernation.
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