9 Fun Facts About Bats
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Bats are an important part of the animal kingdom. They are often misunderstood as the blood-sucking villain usually reserved for Dracula films. However, there’s a lot to learn about bats which can make them one of the most interesting mammals on the planet. Here are 9 fun facts about bats to change your perspective on these cave-dwelling creatures.
- A quarter of all mammals are bats!
Find that hard to believe? In fact, there are over 1,100 different species of bats globally. Bats exist in every country around the world, except for Antarctica, the Arctic, and a few countries in Oceania.
- Echolocation is a bat’s GPS
Since bats haven’t got the best eyesight, many rely on a slightly different navigational method to get around in dark places. They have excellent hearing senses and can hear frequencies from 20 Hz to 120,000 Hz. By comparison, a humans’ range is between 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, and a dog can hear between 40 Hz to 60,000 Hz.
Bats send out sounds and listen for differences in the echoes that bounce back. This is how they can get around, and with freakishly good accuracy.
- There are two main types of bats
Although there are over 1,100 different species of bats, they can be divided into two main types. The first is the megabats, which are generally large bats that have a diet consisting of fruit. They are also often referred to as ‘fruit bats’. Megabats, or fruit bats, don’t have the best echolocation and therefore rely more on their vision – characterized by larger eyes.
The Microbat, on the other hand, eats lizards, birds, blood, insects, and fish. They have very large ears and outstanding echolocation because of their poor eyesight. Generally, the cuter the bat, the more likely it is to be a megabat, microbats can often have quite grotesque features (unless you’re into the ugly kind of cute).
- Bats only have one offspring a year
Bats are one of the slowest offspring producing mammals in the world for their size. The bat is quite an oddity compared to other small mammals who can have up to 8 offspring at a time.
- Some bats can live for a very long time
The average length of a lifetime for a mammal is between 10-15 years, but for some bats, they can live up to 30 years! They are fairly immune to many types of infections and don’t seem to suffer the effects of age-related conditions.
- Bat poop has many fertilizing uses
Bat droppings, or ‘guano’ from fruit and insect bats, are known as a valuable source of fertilizer. It works quickly and doesn’t have a strong odor. Bat guano can be used as a top dressing or a garden tea and worked into the soil surrounding your plants or onto your lawn. Everything will be looking green and lush in no time, thanks to the excrement of bats!
- Bats are important for the ecosystem
Another common myth about bats is that they serve no purpose in our ecosystem. The truth is that bats can help keep the insect population at bay, particularly pesky mosquitoes. One single bat can consume as many as 600 mosquitoes in just one hour! Some people call bats “flying rodents” but in reality, they are small mammals that perform an important duty in our environment.
- Bats aren’t as scary as you may think
Images of bats are often visible when Halloween comes around, and it seems like a natural association right? Many think that because bats drink blood and only come out at night, that they are the perfect spooky representation of Halloween. However, there are only three species that feed on blood, while the others only have fruit, insects and small rodents.
- Hanging upside down is the best way for a bat to take flight
Bats don’t have the same ability as birds to launch themselves from the ground. This is because their wings don’t have enough lift to take-off into flight from standing, and their legs are too small to provide enough power for a running start. Therefore, hanging upside down means that they can drop into flight at a moments notice.
Bats are pretty amazing creatures right? Perhaps it’s time for you to give bats a second chance or to continue your fascination with them. Try visiting a local bat house or cave – just be careful not to disturb them while they sleep!