It really is a shame that bats have such a bad reputation. Sure they can look a little intimidating, pose several health and safety risks, and even be a nuisance to homeowners; but bats are not the spooky, creepy animals portrayed on television and in the movies. They are actually a highly valuable and influential species that play a significant role in our local eco-systems. There are many interesting details about bats that can give you a new perspective on their effects and behaviors.
Continue reading to learn even more fascinating facts about bats, including how to safely and humanely abate a nuisance bat problem on your property.
🛈 Mammals Cannot Fly – Except for Bats!
Bats are the only mammal in the world capable of true flight. Other “flying” animals, such as flying squirrels, do not actually fly like a bird; instead, they soar or float on air currents. What an amazing course of evolution for these fascinating mammals!
🛈 Talk About a Big Family
There are more than 1,300 known bat species across the world; special emphasis on “known.” There could be hundreds, or even thousands more, that have not yet been identified. Why is this fact so interesting? Well, because this means that bats cover virtually every part of the world, with the exception of Polar Regions and extreme deserts.
🛈 Bats Come in All Sorts of Sizes
The largest bat in the world can be found on the islands of the South Pacific. It is called the Flying Fox, which has an average adult wingspan of 6 feet! The smallest bat in the world, called the Bumble Bee bat, lives in Thailand, which has a fitting name since it is as tiny as a bee and weighs less than a penny!
🛈 Many Bats Hibernate – But Not All Do
Bats are one of the most well-known hibernating species out there. But the truth is, not all species of bat actually hibernate. Some, like the Spotted Bat, migrate to warmer areas in search of food and milder weather.
🛈 Their Waste is Not Wasted
Bat droppings, also known as guano, are one of the richest fertilizers in the world. This made it quite profitable back in the day. In fact, guano was once the largest mineral export in Texas before oil came about.
🛈 A Mother Knows Best
Most female bat species give birth to one single bat pup per year and feed them breast milk, not insects. And even though bats live in large colonies of thousands, or sometimes millions, mother bat can always find her own pup by scent and sound. Now that’s quite impressive!
🛈 Bats are Built-in Pest Control
Although bats are deemed a nuisance by many, they happen to be highly-effective pest control. A single bat can consume more than 1,000 flying insects each night, which is more than their own body weight! And since bats come in high numbers, you can multiply that value by a thousand or more! That leaves our outdoor areas clear of pesky gnats, mosquitoes, and more.
🛈 If You Like Fruit, You Have to Like Bats!
If you like fruit like bananas, mangoes, and avocados, then naturally like bats. That is because more than 300 types of fruit are dependent on bats for pollination, including favorites like the ones just mentioned. Bats also help spread the seeds for figs, nuts, and cacao, which happen to be the main ingredients in CHOCOLATE! Plants like the agave or saguaro cactus are also dependent on bats.
🛈 Tiny But Old
The general rule of thumb when it comes to animal lifespan is that the smaller the animal, the shorter the life. But bats betray this rule since many have an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years. In fact, the oldest known bat was 41 years old!
🛈 Bats are Medical Wunderkinds
As mentioned, many fruits and plants rely on bats for pollination, and without bats, we couldn’t have these produces. But bats are also influential to the medical industry because many of the same plants that rely on bats, we rely on for medicine. In fact, around 80 kinds of medicine come from plants that rely on bat pollination. Science is also influenced by bats since studies of bat echolocation have helped scientists develop navigational aids for blind people.