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10 Crazy Facts About Bats

3 years, 5 months ago
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Bats are very misunderstood creatures. They are one of the only mammals that can really fly. They are the second largest group among mammals. There are more than 1,100 species of this mammal. They can be found on every continent with the exception of Antarctica. There is evidence that they’ve been around for between 65 to 100 million years. Bats have been shown to live for more than 30 years. Rabies is fatal. The most common way Americans get rabies is through coming in contact with this unique mammal. So be careful. The following is some other interesting things you should know about them.

1. Gunpowder made from bat droppings was used during the American Civil War.

2. They can eat as many as 1,200 mosquitos an hour.

They often eat their weight in insects each night. A colony can eat over 600 million bugs a year. In one summer 150 of the big brown bat can consume enough cucumber beetles which produce 33 million larvae to save a billion dollars for farmers by protecting their crops.

3. Three species of this placental mammal live on blood alone. The only mammal on the planet that has blood as its only food source is the vampire bat.

4. In their colonies, all the females give birth at the same time.

Some females are able to control when they give birth. They do this by holding the sperm inside their bodies. This delays fertilization. The females can also slow the embryo’s development and control when they give birth that way.

5. During winter some fly south while others hibernate. They can survive when the temperature is freezing. Many can live after being frozen in ice.

6. The bat usually give birth to only a single pup each year. Using their baby’s unique scents and voice the mother can locate their babies even if they are a million other babies around them.

7. Bat droppings are called guano. It’s among the world’s richest fertilizers.

Selling guano used to be big business. Before oil took over, guano used to be the largest mineral export in Texas. Today 1.5 million of the Mexican free-tailed bat live under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. That’s the largest population of them in North America.

8. The flying fox, which lives in the islands of the South Pacific, is the largest bat in the world. Its wingspan can be as wide as 6 feet.

The bumblebee bat, which is found in Thailand, is the world’s smallest bat. The bat is the same size as a bumble bee and doesn’t even weigh as much as a penny. Science says it is probably the world’s smallest mammal. The species is critically endangered because of the loss of its habitat.

9. The world’s largest colony of the animals is in Texas’ Bracken Bat Cave. There are more than 20 million of them living there. When the entire group leaves their cave radar operators say it looks like a humungous storm. In one night the colony can eat as much as 200 tons of bugs.

10. The spit of this mammal can help humans suffering from certain medical conditions. The science shows the anticoagulation found in the spit of the vampire bat has been used to treat people that have suffered strokes or have heart trouble.

Bats are broken down into two suborders. There are fruit-eating megabats and the echolocating microbats that eat insects. The bat plays a very important ecological role. They pollinate flowers, disperse the seeds from fruits, eat pests that attack plants and reduce farmer’s need for pesticides.

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