Bats Are Mammals: Like humans, bats are mammals. They have hair and give birth to living young, feeding them on milk from mammary glands.
Bats Live a Long Time: Bats can live as long as 30 years in group colonies, but can’t live without them.
Bat Babies: Bats typically only have one baby (called a pup) each year.
Bats Are Bug Catchers: Most bats feed on insect pests such as mosquitoes, moths and beetles. One bat can eat as many as 1,000 insects in just one hour.
Bats Are Night Owls: They are nocturnal, flying and foraging for their food at night.
Bats Are Helpful: Bats found in tropical areas feed on fruit and nectar. These bats serve an important ecological role as seed dispersers and pollinators and many plant species depend almost entirely on bats for pollination.
Bats Are Diverse: There are more than 900 bat species worldwide.
Bats Are Precise: Each bat has its own, individual “voice” with which it can judge the size and distance of an object as fine as a human hair.
Where to Find Bats: Bats can be found living in trees, on cliff faces or in rock crevices; but, the vast majority of bats live in caves.
Bats Are One of a Kind: They are the only mammals that can fly.
Bats Have Hands: The bones in a bat’s wing are the same as the bones of the human arm and hand. The bat’s fingers are elongated and connected by a double membrane of skin, which forms the wings.
Bats Have Great Hearing: A bat’s sense of hearing is so sensitive it can hear the footsteps of a walking insect.
Bats Have Sonar: Echolocation is the mechanism bats used to find food and avoid flying into obstacles. They are able to emit and hear noises too high for the human ear to distinguish. The sound waves bounce off objects and back to the bat’s keen ears, enabling it to locate, identify and capture moving prey in the dark.
Bats Are Blind: Most bats can see as well as humans. Many bats have eyesight that is adapted to low-light conditions, much like cats.
Bats Get Tangled In People’s Hair: Their built-in sonar allows bats to accurately fly with great speed through total darkness, avoiding objects larger than themselves, including humans. If a bat swoops toward you, it’s probably after a mosquito hovering just above you.
Bats are Just Flying Mice: Bats are not flying mice; they are not even remotely related to rodents. Bats are such unique animals that scientists have placed them in a group all their own, called Chiroptera, which means “hand-wing.” Bats are grouped with primates and lemurs in a grand order called Archonta.
Bats Suck Your Blood: Undoubtedly, the most famous bats are vampire bats, which are found in Latin American countries. These small bats feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals such as birds, horses and cattle, but they do not attack humans and they do not suck blood.
They obtain their meal by making a small incision in the skin of an animal with their razor-sharp teeth, then lapping up the blood that flows from the wound. The bat’s saliva contains a substance that actually helps numb the animal’s skin, so it’s likely the cut is hardly felt at all. Because vampire bats need only about two tablespoons of blood per day, the loss of blood to a prey animal is minimal.
Bats Carry Rabies: Bats do not “carry” the rabies virus, though they can contract the disease just like any other mammal. Less than one-half of one percent of all bats are infected with rabies, however, and rabid bats are seldom aggressive.
Death as a result of contact with a bat is extremely rare. That doesn’t mean it’s safe to touch or try to hold bats, as they might become frightened and bite in self-defense. Grounded bats are more likely to be sick, and should be approached only by professionals trained to handle them.
Bats Are Ugly and Dirty: Most bats have very cute faces, and some even resemble deer, rabbits, and little Chihuahuas. Like cats, bats spend an enormous amount of time grooming their fur, keeping it soft and silky.