The Fascinating lives of Bats

lives of Bats

Bats are usually assumed as one of the horrible, bad, and dirty species of birds. But in reality, they possess a lot of unique characteristics.

Which we can only imagine in dreams. If we look at the brighter side, the lives of bats are nothing but an example of freedom.

These flying rats enjoy the charm of roaming around in the air at a very fast pace. They live nightlife. They enjoy sleep at day time.

That’s why famous American writer Shel Silverstein once said,

“The baby bat Screamed out in fright, ‘Turn on the dark, I’m afraid of the light.”

Want to know more about the fascinating lives of bats?

Let’s have an in-depth look at what forced us to write and tell you about this ugly creature.

The flying mammals

There are a total of 5400 mammal species in the world. Out of them, only bats can power flight. Their wings enable them to fly at a very fast pace.

Research conducted in 2016, at the University of Tennessee proved that a bat can attain a speed of around 160 km/hour.

Which also made bats the fastest mammals on planet earth. Researchers attached temporary transmitters to calculate the pace of bats.

Results were surprising as they stated some extraordinary maneuvering abilities of bats. Within seconds bats can fly hundreds of meters aloft.

The main reason behind this massive pace was the wings. Bats fly at such a fast speed only because of their strong wings.

The vigilant receptors

Have you ever heard the word echolocation? It is the ability to locate objects only through sound without watching them.

Bats possess this unique characteristic and effectively perform the task of echolocation. Echolocation assists bats to spot trees and other objects to avoid contract with them during flying.

lives of Bats
Illustration depicting the ability of some animals to use sonar, or echolocation.

This process also plays important role in bringing food for the bats. During echolocation, bats make a sound, and then with its waves, they conclude about the presence of objects.

But one thing should be kept in mind that only the microbats can echolocate. You must be wondering that what is a microbat?

Microbat is one of the two types of bats. Let’s have some insights regarding other types.

The Types

Bats are mainly divided into two families. The microbats and megabats. These two families incorporate more than 1000 species of bats existing in different parts of the globe.

The main difference between both types is echolocation. Megabats do not possess the ability to echolocate while microbats can use sound waves to locate objects.

When we talk about size, most of the megabats are larger than microbats but few microbats are also larger than megabats.

So, size can be assumed as a confusing trait to differentiate between both. The difference between both types can be noted when bats are at rest position.

Microbats use to rest with folded wings around their forearms. On the other hand, megabats fold their wings around the whole body.

Along with having differences in physical traits they also differ in eating habits. Microbats rely on insects while megabats use to eat fruits or nectar.

There are very few megabats, which depend upon insects and some microbats also eat fruits or nectar. In nutshell, the major difference between both types is the process of echolocation. All other differences are minor. These two families further have types based on their body structures and traits.

Bats in Numbers

As per historians, the first bat that appeared on earth was around 50 million years ago. Today there are more than a thousand species. If we talk specifically about the United States, 47 species of bats exist here.

While Indonesia has the highest proportion of bats all over the globe. Country host around 225 species of bats. All the species of bats bear great significance and play important role in maintaining the ecosystem by performing small but effective functions like pollination, pest control, and seed dispersion.

The golden-crowned flying fox is one of the largest species of bats that exist on planet earth. They belong to the megabat family. The Philippines is the only country in the world hosting this flying fox. Flying fox weighs up to 1.17 Kg and has the range of widening wings for about 5 to 6 feet.

The three most common bat species are little brown bat, big brown bat, and Mexican free-tailed bat. Among all of these, the big brown bat is the most common in the United States.

The lifespan of bats is relatively higher than other similar mammals. Most of the species have a lifespan of 10-12 years while some have a life expectancy of about 30 years.

Bats require an ideal temperature of 35-40 Fahrenheit for their survival. They cannot survive in too warm or too cold temperatures. Both have adverse effects on the lives of bats.

lives of Bats
Source: University of Florida

Do Bats spread Disease?

During the last year, we witnessed rumors blaming bats for the spread of the coronavirus. But this wasn’t proved scientifically.

Despite having such a fascinating life, bats are also a threat to billions of humans around the globe. Because as per medical practitioners they are a key source of human viruses.

The major form of bats, flying fox is more likely to contain bacteria and viruses but the infection rate is low.

Nocturnal Creature

The majority of the bats are nocturnal. They hunt at night and rest during the daytime. One strange characteristic that bats possess is weak eyes. But still, bats successfully conduct their food hunt in the darkness just because of the echolocation process.

Other Nocturnal creatures mostly have strong vision during nighttime. Bats require safe places during the daytime to rest. Caves turn out as shelters for bats.

As hanging with the cave’s ceiling bats feel secure. Therefore, most of the bat species live in large cave colonies. Each colony has millions of members.

If you ever dare to enter a cave colony of bats, you have to face more than a million bats altogether. So, be prepared!

Politigory provides in-depth reviews of science, history, humanities, religion, social sciences and arts 🌎

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