Get to know about bats

By Esther Muhozi
On 19 September 2023 at 08:33

Bats are mammals. This means that they have fur covered bodies, they are warm blooded and give birth to live young. Mothers feed their newborn babies milk. Bats are the only mammals that can undertake true powered flight.

A bat’s wing is similar to a human hand except the thumb is small and claw-like, while the remaining digits (fingers) are long and there is skin stretched between them. There is a large area of wing membrane between the bat’s fifth finger and its body/leg.

Surprisingly, bats are also related to the Primates, the mammal taxon that includes lemurs, monkeys, apes, and humans; and to the Scandentia, the Asian tropical tree shrews. All these mammals are sometimes classified together in one large taxon, the Archonta.

Bats are beneficial. They eat insects and pollinate plants and play an important role in keeping ecosystems healthy and in balance. Many myths are associated with bats, such as the saying “blind as a bat.” This isn’t true. Bats can see quite well. Another myth is that bats get caught in people’s hair. They don’t. Nor are bats destructive pests like rats and mice. In fact, a colony of bats could cut down on unwanted mosquitoes around

Bat reproduction

Male and female bats tend to remain separate in summer. Mating occurs in early fall. However, in a process known as delayed fertilization, sperm is stored in the females’ reproductive system until the following spring when ovulation occurs and embryonic development begins. The young bats, known as pups, are born in spring. The newborn bats are blind and hairless and are nursed by their mother until they are 6 weeks old. Young bats begin to fly by the time they are a month old.

Here are some interesting facts about bats

Bats are unique animals. There are nearly 1,000 species of bats in the world. However, bats are basically tropical animals and only about 40 kinds of bats live in North America. · Bats have been around a long time, since the age of dinosaurs. Ancient bats resembled those living today. Except for the most extreme desert and polar regions, bats today live in almost every kind of habitat worldwide.

Bats have some amazing abilities: Mexican free-tailed bats can fly 10,000 feet high. Townsend’s-big eared bats can pluck insects from foliage. Hibernating little brown bats can stop breathing for almost an hour during hibernation to reduce their energy needs. Fishing bats have an echolocation system so sophisticated they can detect a minnow’s fin as fine as a human hair.

Did you know that there exists The Honduran white bat, a colorful snow-white bat with yellow nose and ears, cuts large leaves to make “tents” to protect its small colonies from drenching jungle rains. Bats eat a variety of foods from flower nectar to fish, small mammals, and insects. Bats also come in an array of colors and sizes and shapes.

Sometimes the nature depends on bats. For example, agricultural plants from bananas to cashews, dates, and figs rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal. Despite bats’ many benefits including pollination and insect control, their populations are declining nearly everywhere.

A bat really is like humans, bats are mammals. Bats are the only mammals that actually fly, flapping their wings to propel them in flight. Some mammals, such as flying squirrels, only glide rather than fly. Because bats are unique they are classified in their own special order of mammals, called Chiroptera. Chiroptera means “hand-wing,” referring to how the finger bones of a bat support its wings. The wings of a bat are actually thin membranes of skin that stretch between the fingers of the front leg and extend to the hind legs and tail.

Bat features

Bats have elongated finger bones that serve a purpose similar to struts on an airplane wing, providing support and maneuverability during flight. When a bat rests, it folds its wings alongside its body to protect the delicate finger bones and wing membranes. Most North American bats are insectivorous. Insect-eating bats capture their prey by foraging on the wing, catching flying insects from a perch, or collecting insects from plants.

Did you know that some bats seize insects with their mouths. Other bats use their wings or tail membrane to trap prey. Bats may disable large insects with a quick bite, then envelop the insect meal in a basket formed by the bat’s wings and tail, and carry the insect to a perch for eating. Bats have sharp teeth to chew their food into tiny, digestible pieces. A bat may consume nearly 50 percent of its body weight in insects during just one night.

Other kinds of bats have patterns so bright they are called butterfly bats. Some bats have long angora-like fur varying in color from red to black and white. The bumblebee bat of Thailand weighs less than a penny. Some of the large bats known as flying foxes such as those living in Indonesia have wingspans up to 6 feet. Flying foxes live only in tropical and subtropical areas including Australia and eat primarily fruit and nectar. Other species of bats are carnivorous, preying on fish, frogs, mice, and birds.

Sometimes it is important to dive a bit further into creatures that surround us mostly leaving creatures, for they are like us in one way or the other. I believe learning about these creatures is very essential.

Bats have elongated finger bones that serve a purpose similar to struts on an airplane wing, providing support and maneuverability during flight.