Contrary to popular
belief, bats are not blind and they do not try to become tangled in hair.
Bats are not related
to rodents. In fact, bats belong to a group of their own, called chiroptera, which means "hand-wing"!
Bats are the only flying
mammals in the world. (Flying squirrels do not fly, they glide!)
Of the world's 900+
species, only three species are vampire bats, limited to Latin America.
Vampire bats do not
like the taste of human blood. They are very small and generally drink the blood of animals and poultry. Seventy
percent of all bat species eat insects, most of the remaining 30% eat fruit, pollen and nectar.
Less than one-half of
one percent of bats contract rabies. However, a grounded bat should never be handled because it may bite in
self-defense. Call a wildlife rehabilitator or an animal organization for help.
Bats are vital to the
ecosystem! Fruit bats bring us over 450 commercial products, including 80 medicines. The seed dispersal and pollination
activities of fruit and nectar eating bats are vital to the survival of rain forests. Seeds dropped by tropical bats account
for up to 95% of forest re-growth on cleared land. Night blooming plants and trees depend on nectar eating bats for pollination.
An excellent example is the baobab tree of eastern Africa that is so important to the survival of other kinds of wildlife
it is referred to as the "Tree of Life."
Bats in the US eat millions
of tons of insects annually. Alarmingly, bats are disappearing worldwide. They are now considered the most
endangered land mammal in North America Bats are the most successful predators of night flying insects. A
single bat can eat up to 3,000 insects in one night and an average size colony can eat up to a half million insects
Bats can eat almost
their full body weight in insects! Comparatively a grown human adult would have to eat around 160 pounds of French fries or
roughly 50 pizzas in a night! Unfortunately, bats are persecuted because of their presence in man made structures.
Like dolphins, most
bats are extremely intelligent. Some bats have a highly complicated social structure that includes over 20 different vocalizations.
Bats are harmless, under-appreciated eaters of millions of mosquitoes. From May until September is the Bat Maternity season,
any attempts to remove or exclude them from places where they are living will result in death for the babies who rely on their
mother's milk for life. When excluded or removed, the mothers cannot feed their young, resulting in the cruelest form of death
by starvation. We need our bats, each bat can eat up to 3,000 mosquitoes and other flying insects each night. Killing bats
will only result in more mosquitoes and bugs. So, please help us protect our much needed Florida Bats.
Bat fossils have been
found that date back approximately 50 million years. Surprisingly, the bats of that ancient period very closely
resembled those we know today. Bats are such unique mammals that scientists have placed them in a group of their
own, the Chiroptera, which means hand-wing. Bats are of the grand order, Archonta, grouped together with monkeys and
Bats amount to approximately
a quarter of all mammal species. They are found everywhere in the world except in the most extreme desert
and polar regions. Most bats navigate with high-frequency sounds. Using sound alone, they can detect obstacles as fine
as a human hair in total darkness. The sophistication of their unique echolocation system surpasses current scientific knowledge!
Bats carefully groom themselves. Bats are among the cleanest of animals and are also exceptionally resistant
Bats, for their size, are the slowest reproducing mammals on earth. On average mother bats rear
only one young per year. Some do not give birth until they are two or more years old. Like humans, bats give birth to poorly
developed young and nurse them from a pair of pectoral breasts. Mother bats have been known to adopt each other's young.
Bats are exceptionally long-lived, some species can live up to 34 years!
Studies of bats
have contributed to the development of navigational aids for the blind, birth control and artificial insemination techniques,
vaccine production and drug testing, and a better understanding of low-temperature surgical procedures. Bats are depicted
as heroes in other parts of the world. In China they are held in high esteem as omens of good luck and happiness. In Scotland,
the real estate value goes up when a home or castle is found to house a colony of bats! Native American Indians considered
the bat a protector. Bats are often drawn on the corners of Native American sand paintings to guard the painting.