Cave Bats

Cave Bats

Bat Facts

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.

Bat Swarm: is nocturnal, and is never found aboveground in daylight. Their built-in sonar allows bats to accurately fly with great speed through total darkness, avoiding objects larger than themselves, including humans.

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.

Dwarf Epauletted Fruit Bat (Micropteropus pusillus): This type of bat is native to countries in the central and southern parts of Africa. It feeds mostly on juice it extracts from small fruits, drinking 2.5 times its body weight in a single night. Bats are transporters of many viruses that do not affect them due to their unusually high immune system efficiency. Micropteropus pusillus bats have been known to carry antibodies specific to Ebola.

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.

Fruit Bat (suborder Megachiroptera, family Pteropodidae): The fruit bat’s diet consists of fruit, as its name suggests. It is a relatively large bat, known as a Megabat, and does not navigate by echolocation. It relies on its keen senses of sight and smell to locate food. Fruit bats can be found in tropical locations throughout the world.

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.

Indiana Bat: Live in our very own Squire Boone Caverns. The ideal shelter for bats is caves, caves provide comfortable safety from predators. Some of the most successful species of bats live in large cave colonies that number in the millions!

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.

Lyle’s Flying Fox (Pteropus lylei): A type of fruit bat, these flying foxes are found in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. They are a very social species and form large colonies high up in trees.

Bat Myths

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.

Lesser False Vampire Bat (Megaderma spasma): Found in South Asia and Southeast Asia from India in the west to the Philippines in the east. They live in caves and tree hollows, and eat only insects

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.

Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros): A type of European bat that gets its name from its distinctive horseshoe-shaped nose. It is one of the world’s smallest bats, weighing less than an ounce, with a body length of about 1.5 inches. It is quick and agile, flies very close to the ground when hunting for food, and can see well in spite of its small eyes.

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.

Common Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus): Found in the tropics of Mexico, Central America, and South America, this is the only mammal that feeds entirely on blood, mostly from cattle and horses.

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