Bats are the mammals of the order Chiroptera. These tiny creatures with wings love to hang upside down on trees, in dark caves, etc. Bats are the only mammals that can sustain continued flight. Some species of bats are insectivores and some survive on fruits. But there are some species that feast on blood. Vampire bats are one of the examples of such species. Read this article to find out more information on bats.
Information About Bats Your Kids Will Love to Know
Bats are mainly categorised into two suborders – megabats and echolocating microbats. Read on to get more in out more from about bats.
1. Bats are the Only Mammals With Wings
Surprised on reading this? Well, don’t be because it’s true. Bats are the only mammals with wings. Bats have wings and can fly and flap their wings just like birds do.
The shape and size of bats depend on their species. Learn more about the body parts of bats.
- Skull and Teeth
Usually, bats have sharp teeth, large eye sockets, small ears, and a big nose, which makes them look like a canine. Megabats, which are mostly fruit-eating bats have sharp edges on their molars and flat surfaces to enable the crushing of food. On the other hand, microbats, which eat insects, other small animals, and nectar have a long nose. However, the vampire bats have a small nose. They also have spiked teeth, which are sharp and help them crush food. Baby bats have 22 deciduous curved teeth. Adult bats have anywhere between 20 to 38 teeth, based on the species.
The most distinct feature of bats is their wings. To be precise, bats have wings instead of forearms. Their wings are mostly made up of cartilage and contain only a fraction of calcium. The skin covering their bones of the fingers is very thin and elastic which stretches when they fly. Since the skin of their wings is very thin, it is easy to tear as well, but it grows back quickly too.
3. Species of Bats
Most of the bats are found in tropical places. There are about 1200 species of bats all over the world except in cold places. Following are some of the common species of bats:
- Egyptian Fruit Bats
Egyptian fruit bats are found in Africa and the Middle East. These bats are small in size and are about 6 inches in length.
- California Leaf-nosed Bats
California leaf-nosed bats are found in Mexico and the U.S. As the name suggests, these bats have a nose that resembles a leaf so it’s easy to distinguish them from other species. They love to eat small insects like grasshoppers, moths, and crickets.
- Honduran White Bats
The little Honduran white bats have beautiful white fur and yellow ears and nose. They only a few inches long and you can hold them with your two fingers.
- Indian Flying Fox
The Indian flying fox is also known as the greater Indian fruit bat. These bats have a wingspan of about 4-5 feet. This species of bats love to eat fruits.
- Big Brown Bats
These fur balls are found in North America, Central America, and in a few parts of South America as well. They are a great help to farmers as they like to feast on moths, beetles, and wasps.
4. How Do Bats Reproduce?
The reproduction process of bats is unique. The gestation period for bats ranges between 40 days to 180 days. Bats are the slowest reproducing mammals. Usually, they give birth to only one baby at a time. However, sometimes they may have twins. Babies of bats are called bat pups. A bat pup weighs only 25% of its mother’s body weight. Bat pups are born hairless, but they possess strong claws and legs which help them to hang on to their mothers.
5. Diet of Bats
Based on the kind, bats eat different things. Some are carnivorous and others are not. Given below is what they may eat:
- Fruits (Fruit-eating bats)
- Nectar (Nectar-eating bats)
- Blood (Vampire bats)
Amazing Facts About Bats for Children
In many cultures, bats are associated with fear. They are also considered a bad omen. But in some cultures, people see bats as a symbol of good luck. In Chinese culture, bats are considered a symbol of good fortune. Following are some interesting bats facts for first-grade kids:
- Bats actually come out only at the night time in search of their food. This is because bats are nocturnal creatures, which means that they are active only during night-time.
- The largest cave of bats is Bracken cave which is in Texas. Interestingly, during summer this cave becomes a home to 20 million bats.
- Bats use sonic waves to navigate themselves and to see in the dark. This process is called Echolocation. In order to see in the dark, bats emit high-frequency sounds and wait for the sound waves to bounce back, just like an echo. This tells them whether their is a danger or not.
- Bats can’t stand upright, hence they always hang upside down. They sleep, drink, and even socialise hanging upside down.
- Brazilian free-tailed bats, the fastest species of bats, can fly at a speed of up to 160 km per hour.
- Bats have a lifespan of about 20-30 years.
- A bat can eat about 2000-6000 insects per night. It helps maintain the ecological balance.
- Bat droppings can be used to make gunpowder or as fertiliser.
- Of all the species of bats around the world, about 70% of bats feast on insects.
- In winter some bats go into ‘torpor’, which is a form of hypothermia that is regulated and can last from a few days to months.
Bats help in pest control and can maintain our ecosystem. We hope this information and facts about bats kept you engaged. You can share it with your child – he will have a good time learning about a new mammal.