Posted on August 29, 2015
Like Bat Appreciation Day, International Bat Nights celebrates the many, varied species of bats. This year, IBNs are August 29 to August 30 (the last full weekend in August).
I'm sure you know that bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. You might also know that bats range in size from tiny – the bumblebee bat is only a bit larger than an inch long (3 cm) and 0.07 ounces (2 g) – to surprisingly large – flying foxes (which are of course bats, not foxes!) have wingspans up to 6 feet (1.8 m)!
Bats live all over the world, including in rain forests, mountains, farmland, temperate forests, and even cities – but they don't live in polar areas. (Oh, and a some islands are bat-less.)
Most bats prefer warm areas, but those who live in areas with cold winters either migrate or hibernate.
I really like to go on cave tours, and many caves are places where bats like to hang out either during the day or during cold weather. Because of this, many cave tours include pointing out piles of guano (bat poop)!
At Carlsbad Caverns, NM, summertime visitors can watch millions of Mexican free tailed bats head out of the cave every evening!
At Kartchner Caverns, AZ, rangers close half of the tours each summer so that the one to two thousand common cave bats who use the “Big Room” section of the caves as a nursery will not be disturbed. The Big Room is only open to people during the time the bats don't use the cave!
|Bats in a cave|
Build a bat house to help bats living in your area! Here's how.
Did you know...?
- Although different bat species eat different things – from fruit to pollen to insects to blood – most North American bats eat insects. That's one reason people want to help bats survive, and many people build and erect bat houses. Even small bats can eat from 2,000 to 6,000 insects EVERY NIGHT! A single little brown bat can eat 1,000 mosquitoes in just one hour! And colonies of bats commonly eats hundreds of TONS of insects every night.
- Many agricultural products such as fruits (bananas and mangoes, for example) and nuts (cashews and almonds, for example) rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal.
- Bats are the largest group of mammals in the world. About one fourth of all species of mammals are bats!
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