Bats are extraordinary creatures. They are the only mammal that can fly, and they have the ability to use echolocation for hunting for food.
Bats are essential to their ecosystems. In fact, they are what is know as a keystone species, meaning they are crucial to the continued survival of the habitat in which they live.
The history of the bat is long and storied. Bats are often misunderstood and mistreated. Hopefully, by taking the time to understand this mysterious creature, we can work to preserve them.
At Central Plains Bat Removal, we understand the essential role bats play. We know that the first step to preservation is a desire to learn. If we begin to understand how significant bats are, we can understand why it is so imperative that we do what we can to ensure their continued survival.
Today, we are going to go over a brief bat history. We are going to travel back millions of years to the time of the first bats.
The first fossil records of bat ancestors date back over 50 million years ago. That species, the lcaronycteris index, was found in North America.
This early bat had both the power of sustained flight and used ultrasounds for hunting.
Fossil remains of similar species can be found in parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. As is true today, bats could be found all across the globe.
Scientists who study bats still debate the course of bat evolution. They are unsure if bats developed the ability to fly or their echolocation skills first.
It is commonly believed that the earliest bats were ground-dwellers. Bats could have developed the ability to fly slowly, as they jumped from tree to tree. They would first learn to glide, and eventually outright fly.
If early bats were ground-dwellers that had to adapt and evolve to achieve flight, logically, the most significant evolutionary change would be the elongation of their forearms and fingers.
As bats evolved over the millennia, the bones of their wings became longer, and the skin covering those bones had to become stretchier and more aerodynamic.
Each species of the bat followed it’s own evolutionary morphology, though. The path of evolution was strictly determined by the feeding preferences and hunting ground of each species.
If a particular species of bat hunts in an area of thick vegetation, it will likely have short and broad wings.
Conversely, species that hunt in more open spaces have long and narrow wings.
Much like some species of birds, many bats follow a seasonal migratory pattern. During the autumn months, bats settle down to hibernate. They seek out shelter in caves or other spots that maintain a relatively stable and constant temperature.
Bats hibernate to conserve energy during the cold, harsh winter months. Depending on the species, hibernation will last a few weeks or a few months.
In order to survive this hibernation period, bats must bulk up during their waking months. They need to accumulate around 20-30% of their body weight in fat.
In the spring, bats move to potential nursery colony sites. Females build nests and give birth to babies. Most species give birth to pups from late May to early June.
For the first few weeks of the pup’s life, it hangs from its mother’s fur. Once it is old enough, it can hang on its own and begin to hunt for its own food.
The migrating bats can travel as little as ten kilometers, and as high as two thousand kilometers.
Modern bats belong to the order Chiroptera. This word, derived from ancient Greek, means hand wing. It is an appropriate moniker.
Bats are the only mammals who are capable of active flight. While some other mammals are able to glide, take flying squirrels, none can actually fly.
Today, there are around 1300 bat species around the world. All of them are nocturnal.
In fact, the most commonly found bats in North America belong to the group Vepertilliones. Vesper is derived from the Latin word for the evening.
Bats often make their homes in dark, damp places, such as caves or underground caverns.
Bats get a bad wrap. Many people believe that they are aggressive or dangerous. Actually, they are gentle and very passive.
The fear inspired by bats most likely stems from the days before electricity when the night was dark and full of terrors.
As previously mentioned, they use a particular skill called echolocation to hunt and find their way through the dark.
To employ this skill, the bat produces a loud sound at a higher frequency than the human ears can hear. The sound is reflected back to the bat. Then, the bat is able to create an image of the surrounding area.
This echolocation is incredibly precise. Bats are able to make out shapes as small and delicate as a single human hair.
Bats use this talent to hunt the thousands of bugs they eat each night. Most species of bats feed on insects and other small critters, but few also eat plant pollen, fruit, and fruit nectar.
In a single night, bats can consume a third to a half of their body weight. Having a bat colony nearby basically guarantees you the most natural and effective pesticide there is.
The lifespan of the average bat is relatively long. Some species have been known to live for over 30 years.
Once they reach maturity, the average female bat will give birth to only one or two babies per year.
Bats are gentle and majestic creatures, and they are worthy of our respect and protection. If bats were not around, we would all suffer. There are many myths surrounding bats. These myths make many people scared of bats and have a negative view of them. Bats are essential and should be protected.
If you have any bat questions, problems contact Central Plains Bat Removal. We have the experience to ensure bats are safely and humanely removed from your home or business.
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