When I ask you to think of a bat, most of you will likely think, "I want to suck your blood". And you'd be wrong. Despite what we all learn from pop culture, bats don't like human blood. Even the dreaded vampire bat. So, in the spirit of Halloween, here are some facts about bats!
There are over 500 species of bats, but they all fall under 2 main types of bats. The first kind are microbats. Microbats tend to live in caves and use echolocation to find their way in the dark. Echolocation is a way of using sound waves bounced off objects to determine where objects are in relation to the bat. They have large ears and eat insects. The vampire bat is a microbat and mainly drinks cow or other livestock blood through tiny cuts on the skin. They never take enough blood to kill the animal. The second kind are megabats. Megabats are larger and look for food during the day. These bats don't use echolocation and have smaller ears. Megabats eat pollen, nectar, and fruits of plants.
While many people think of bats as creepy creatures of the night, bats are actually very beneficial to humans. Insect eating bats can consume millions of insects a night which can lead to farmers using less pesticides. Fruit eating bats help pollinate plants and spread their seeds.
- Bat wings move up, down, in, and out during flight unlike the wings on a bird.
- Bats practice signal jamming. If two bats are hunting the same group of insects, one bat can emit a sound that will disable or jam the other bat's ability to echolocate. The jammed bat will miss the insects.
- 1 bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitos in an hour.
- Bats are more closely related to humans than mice even though they look more like mice.
- Bats have special veins to help keep their blood flowing while they roost (sleep) upside down.
- Bats Do Not like to get tangled in long hair. This belief came from an early Christian edict that ordered women to cover their hair to avoid attracting demons.
- Chinese culture is one of the only in the world that sees bats as a good luck symbol.
- Bats are found on every continent except Antarctica
- New Zealand's only native mammals are 3 species of fruit bats.