Growing up in a rural area of farms and forests, animals were everywhere – both wild and domestic. It was just part of everyday life to see cows, deer, rabbits, dogs, cats, turkeys, or many other types of animals, including bats. I have always had a love of animals, but the bats fascinate me most of all.
I think it’s the mystery that surrounds them. It’s easy to spot a large cow or deer in a field, or even a quick rabbit in the yard. Bats, on the other hand, are usually only spotted if you are looking for them. It’s hard to see a small, swift, flying creature at night.
14 Bat Facts
The mysteriousness of bats drew me to them, but it’s their many other unique characteristics that really set them apart from other animals. Take a look at these bat facts and I think you’ll be amazed by them, too.
- Bats are the only mammals capable of actual flight.
- Bats are nocturnal.
- Bats are clean animals that regularly clean themselves.
- There are over 1200 bat species worldwide.
- Bats make up one-fourth of the mammal species on Earth.
- Bats find food in the dark by echolocation.
- Bats species have varying diets. Some eat insects. Others eat fruit or nectar, while others eat small animals.
- Fruit and nectar-eating bats are good pollinators.
- Little brown bats can eat 1000 mosquitoes per hour.
- There are only 3 species of vampire bats.
- Over 50% of the U.S. bat population in the US is endangered or in steep decline.
- Some bats migrate, and others hibernate.
- Bats can live over 20 years.
- The largest bat species in the world is the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox with the weight of 2.5 lbs and a wingspan of over 5 feet!
- The smallest bat species in the world is Kitti’s Hog-nosed bat weighing 1/4 ounce and is 1 inch long.
(You might want to download the FREE Animal Report Printable for your bat study!)
Why Are Bat Populations Declining?
Bats are an important part of their ecosystem. They keep insect populations in check and are pollinators of plants. Sadly, in many areas of the U.S. and the rest of the world, bat numbers are in a steep decline. Fifty percent of the U.S. species of bats are endangered. Why?
The major threat to bats in the U.S. right now is White-Nose Syndrome . This is a fungus that is killing hibernating bat species in the United States in huge numbers. It is named for the white fungus that grows on the wings and noses of the bats. This fungus is suspected to be an introduced species and was first discovered in cave bats in New York in 2006. By 2016, White-Nose Syndrome spread to more than half of the U.S. states.
The fungus irritates the skin of the bats causing them to wake from their hibernation before it is time. This causes the bats to burn through their fat reserves too soon and they starve to death.
Another proposed threat to bats is wind turbines. The growing wind energy industry is building an increasing number of turbines across the country. Bats and birds are being injured and killed by the rotating blades. More studies need to be done to give an accurate assessment of the numbers.
When humans destroy natural areas, animal and plant habitat is destroyed. Sometimes species will move into another area. Other times there is no other areas with the proper food and habitat for that species. This causes the decline in population numbers
Here are some great links for further bat study.
- Bat Conservation International
- What Is Killing The Bats?
- KidZone bats facts and activities
- Free Bat Unit Study
- Build Your Own Bat House
Learn about bats and other endangered species in The Homeschool Scientist’s endangered species series.