Bats are fascinating creatures; that’s just a fact. Here at Central Plains Bat Removal, we think bats are pretty groovy. And once you read the following information, we know you will agree.
We would like to take some time today to talk about the only mammal that can fly- our friend, the bat. We will be going over the life cycle of bats, as well as some interesting facts. So strap in, and get ready to take flight with bat knowledge.
A Year in the Life of a Bat
Winter is hibernation time for bats. While they are hibernating, bats experience a state characterized by inactivity. During this time, their body temperature is drastically lowered, and their breathing, heartbeat, and metabolic rate is reduced.
Hibernation continues. At this point, the bats have little to no fat left with which to live off. Near the end of hibernation, the bats may leave their nests on the warmest nights for water and small snacks.
Now is when you will see signs of limited activity in the bat colonies. The bats start to emerge in search of food. You will see small groups out feeding as the weather warms. When the weather veers toward the colder end of the spectrum, they may become latently torpid briefly.
The bats have officially reached the end of hibernation. At this point, they are hungry and active. Most nights are spent hunting and feeding. They become restless and may move around to several different roosting sites.
The bats are now fully active. Nights are spent on feeding frenzies. With birthing season right around the corner, females begin to form maternity colonies and start searching for suitable sites to give birth. They will either roost on their own or in groups.
Here come the babies! Like humans, female bats give birth to only one baby at a time. Also, like humans, bats feed their young with their own milk.
Newborn bats are tiny, smaller than one inch. They are covered with thin, grey fur.
During these warmer months, bats spend every night hunting. They will catch and eat thousands of insects each night.
July is a month for maturation. The baby bats continue to drink their mother’s milk and steadily grow. Throughout the month, they quickly mature and almost reach full-size. When they reach about three weeks of age, they begin learning to fly.
Small bats may be found on the ground at this time as they try to fly on their own.
When the young bats reach six weeks, they no longer feed on milk and begin catching insects for themselves. With the babies going off on their own, the maternity colonies start to disperse. With the mating season coming up, bats begin to find and build mating roosts.
Love is in the air as the mating season begins. The night is alive with the sounds of bat mating calls. The males use purrs, clicks, and buzzing to attract willing females.
During this time, bats concentrate on building up their fat stores for the upcoming colder months. Bats need to go into their hibernation period with enough fat stores to make it through the winter.
Mating season continues. Along with mating, building up fat stores becomes a priority. Time to gorge and build up fat is dwindling as hibernation season looms.
While they are feeding, bats begin to look for suitable hibernation sites. As the weather turns colder, the bats become more lackadaisical.
Periods of rest and inactivity begin to last longer and longer. With the approach of winter and colder weather, some bats begin their hibernation period. The bats start to rely on their fat stores for sustenance.
If you want to help bats find a safe place to roost, consider building a bat house.
Hibernation is in full swing. Bats may choose to roost on their own or in small groups. They hibernate in cool and quiet places that are out of the way. Some of the bats’ favorite hibernation spots include trees, caves, or abandoned buildings.
During this time, bats require uninterrupted quiet and rest.
Interesting Bat Facts
- Bats are ancient- they have been around for at least 50 million years. Despite this extended period of time, bats today look much like their ancient ancestors.
- The various species of bats make up about twenty-five percent of all mammals. They are the only mammal that can fly.
- The scientific order to which bats belong is Chiroptera- which means ‘hand-wing.’
- Contrary to popular belief, bats are incredibly gentle creatures who rarely bite. They are only aggressive when they are frightened or provoked.
- Bats have been known to care for the young of other species of bats.
- The smallest mammal in the world is a species of bat- the Bumblebeebat from Thailand. The Bumblebeebat weighs less than a penny.
- The largest species of bat, the flying foxes, is known to have a six-foot wingspan.
- Some bats feed on fish, frogs, small mammals, fruit, and insects. Some bats are even cannibalistic and have been known to feed on other bats.
- There are three species of bat that feed on blood. All three are only found in Central and South America
- Many species of bats are considered keystone species. They are essential to the survival of their habitats.
- Bat droppings are called guano. It makes an excellent fertilizer. Some countries actually mine guano to use for that purpose.
- Bats generally have excellent eyesight. Like humans, though, they can’t see too well at night. They typically rely on sound and echolocation to find their way in the dark. This ability also comes in handy for hunting.
- Bats live relatively long lives. Some species can live up to and even past thirty years. In fact, the oldest recorded bat was discovered in Russia. This particular Myotis brandtii was caught at 41 years old.
- In the US, there are forty-five known species of bats. At least six of them can be found on the endangered species list.
Bats are an essential part of any ecosystem in which they are found. We should do our best to ensure their continued survival.
For all of your bat needs and concerns, contact Central Plains Bat Removal.