Bats are fascinating creatures. Everyone seems to be curious about them. Everyone also seems to have many interesting bat facts, that may or may not be factual.
What everyone should know is that bats are a vital part of our ecosystem. They play an integral role in nature, from the insects they eat to the agriculture they fertilize.
If you have kids, it is especially important to teach them from a young age not to be afraid of bats. Instead, show them all the fantastic things bats do.
Here is some bat information for kids to get you started.
- Bats are the only mammals that can fly. Of all the mammals on earth, nothing else can fly, even other mammals with wings. Bats are incredible flyers. They use the power of propulsion to fly on their fragile wings. Bats don’t flap their wings; they pull themselves through the air. Imagine the breaststroke in a pool.
- Bat wings are made up of two thin layers of skin that stretch over their bones. Bats have a thumb and four fingers on each arm, just like humans.
- Because bats are mammals, they nurse their babies with milk. Bats spend a substantial amount of time raising their young pups.
- Contrary to popular belief, bats can see. However, because they can’t see well at night, they use echolocation to navigate. With this method, they send out beeps or chirps and listen for the response. They interpret the variations in the echoes as they come back to determine where things are. To avoid predators, bats hunt for insects and bugs at night.
- Bats like to roost in caves and other cold and drafty areas. To keep warm while they sleep, bats wrap their wings around their bodies to trap air for natural insulation.
- In their caves, bats roost in colonies. When they sleep during the day, they hang upside down. Bats are pretty social for the most part and can be in colonies that number in the millions. The largest known bat colony in the world is Bracken Cave in Texas which is home to twenty million Mexican free-tailed bats.
- One reason bats are endangered is because they only have one pup a year, on average. Bats do not carry litters or large amounts of offspring like other smaller animals.
- Bats can live to be thirty years old. Compared to other small mammals who only live a couple of years at most, bats have an incredibly long lifespan.
- Bats are meticulous about their cleanliness. Bat colonies will spend hours grooming themselves and each other. Bats will lick and scratch for hours, including behind their ears.
- Bats eat a fantastically large amount of insects. One brown bat can catch about 1,200 insects in an hour! Substantial colonies of bats with numbers in the millions can eat as many as 200 tons of insects in a single night.
- Most bats are not vampires. That is, most types of bats do not ingest blood. The vampire bats that do feed on blood do not suck it; they lap it up instead. Of all the species of bats in the world, only three are vampire bats. In Central and South America, a vampire bat will bite a cow or other animal and then lick the blood.
- Bats have an incredible metabolism. Bats that eat fruit can digest whatever they eat, whether it was a banana, mango, or anything else, in as little as twenty minutes.
- A common fear among humans is that we can contract rabies from bats. This fear is unfounded. In fact, in the previous fifty years, only ten people have contracted rabies from bats in North America. Unlike the movies, bats are not flying death traps out to infect and kill humans. Bats are more scared of humans than we are of them. If a bat bites you, seek medical attention. You should be fine, though.
- Bats make up one-fourth of all mammals on Earth. There are over 1,100 species of bats flying around.
- Bats are in danger. Of all the species of bats in the United States, experts list over 50% as endangered or in decline. It is our responsibility to learn all these bat facts so we can help secure their future.
- Bats don’t just take care of themselves; they also take care of humans. Bats affect almost every aspect of our lives from agriculture to forestry. However, human actions through industry, deforestation, and pollution have reduced or altogether wiped out their habitats. Thankfully, there are conservation societies throughout North America aimed at supporting bat colonies.
- Bats don’t just support agriculture. Doctors might soon be able to treat humans with cardiac issues using saliva from vampire bats. There is an anticoagulant found in their saliva that is intended to keep the blood flowing in their victims while they are eating. This anticoagulant seems to work in humans, as well. Scientists are trying to use the enzymes in their saliva to treat heart conditions and victims of strokes.
- Bats have been around for at least fifty million years! Scientists have found fossils dating back to before humans recorded history, and their bones have not changed much in all those years.
Bats are incredible animals. They are not dangerous to you, though they can be pesky if you have them in your house or on your property. If you have bats or think you might, don’t worry. There are experts who can help you handle whatever you find. The friendly staff at Central Plains Bat Removal is here to help. They are well-equipped to handle any bat population they come across. John and Sean will speak with you on the phone, then come out to look at the problem firsthand. The initial consultation and cost estimate are free.
Now that you have some exciting bat facts, you can sit down with your kids and learn together. Children are quick learners, and this bat information for kids is a great place to start. You won’t regret learning something new.