All About Bats

There are around 1100 known species of bat in the world and they occur throughout every continent in the world with the exception of Antarctica. All over the world people have been captivated by these mysterious nocturnal flying animals. Stories regarding bats, their origin, and nature have been told for many centuries with accounts that date back to the Roman and Mayan empires.

All bats are nocturnal, preferring to rest during the day and leave their roosts at night in search of food. During the day they remain hidden from predators, choosing roosts in caves, man-made structures such as homes and bridges, or in trees. Some species of bat are solitary, while others, especially those that roost in large caves, may live in colonies with thousands or even millions of individuals.

Bats have many incredible adaptations! To suit their nocturnal lifestyle bats use echolocation to find their way in the dark and locate food at night. Similar to the sonar that species of dolphins and whales use, this incredible adaptation has led a wide array of strange facial features such as the bizarre appearance of bats such as the… (tube nosed bats, leaf nosed bats, large-eared spotted bats.) Many species of bats are also capable of hibernating, and many individual species of bats have developed their own ecological adaptations—such as their diet, and habitat preference.

In addition to being very unique animals, bats play important ecological roles. Some bats pollinate night blooming plants, while other bat species are important in dispersing the seeds of certain fruit trees. Insect-eating bats can be important in reducing insect populations by eating up to 4 times their weight in insects in a single night!

A Video Overview by John O. Whitaker PhD at Indiana State University

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