Batty About Bats

Apr 06, 2012 Comments Off by
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Did you know that bats…

  • Bats, like humans, are mammals, having hair and giving birth to living young and feeding them on milk from mammary glands. More than 900 species of bats occur worldwide; they are most abundant in the tropics.
  • Worldwide, bats vary in size from the weight of a dime to more than 3 pounds. The large “flying foxes” of Africa, Asia, Australia, and many Pacific islands may have a wingspan up to 6 feet.
  • The bones in a bat’s wing are the same as those of the human arm and hand, but bat finger bones are greatly elongated and connected by a double membrane of skin to form the wing.
  • Bats primarily are nocturnal, although many fly early in the evening, sometime before sunset. Occasionally, especially on warm winter days, they can be seen flying during daylight hours.

 

Reproduction and Longevity

Most female bats produce only one offspring per year, although some species give birth to three or four babies at a time. Mom bats are pregnant for only a few weeks and some baby bats ca fly within 2 to 5 weeks after they are born. . Bats can as long as 30 years.

 

Feeding

Insect-eating bats may either capture flying insects in their mouths or scoop them into their tail or wing membranes. They then reach down and take the insect into their mouth. This results in the erratic flight most people are familiar with when they observe bats flying around in the late evening or around lights at night. Bats drink by skimming close to the surface of a body of water and gulping an occasional mouthful.

 

Hibernation and Migration

Because insects are not available as food during winter, temperate-zone bats survive by either migrating to warmer regions where insects are available, or by hibernating.

Several bat species hibernate in dense clusters on cave walls or ceilings. Clusters may consist of hundreds of bats per square foot. Most U.S. cave bats spend winter hibernating in caves (or mines) and move to trees or buildings during summer. A few species reside in caves year-round, although they usually use different caves in summer than winter. Most cave bats return year after year to the same caves.

Tree bats seldom enter caves. They roost in trees during summer days and spend winter primarily in hollow trees. Other species make long migration flights.

 

Bats

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