Bats are truly amazing creatures, and in fact they’re the only mammal known to man that are capable of flying. With long fingers, fangs, sharp claws and scaly wing membrane, it’s clear to see why so many people are afraid of bats, and seeing as there are over 1,000 different species of bat worldwide, they can be found in all corners of the earth, from the cities to the urban areas. However bats aren’t as scary as they seem, and once you get to know these furry fliers, you’ll realise that there actually nothing to worry about! Let’s take a look at some of the key facts about bats that you might now know.
When people think of bats, they think of fangs, and then Count Dracula, and then human blood. In actual fact, the percentage of bat species that grow fangs is extremely small, and even then their diet is pretty simple. Bats are one of the best alternatives to pesticides, and seeing as over 70 per cent of them feed on small insects, they’re great at helping to protect crops. Fruit also plays a major part in a bat’s diet, and unless you’re living in South America, you’re not going to see any bats feeding on small mammals or fish.
Although there are tens of millions of bats all over the world, their numbers continue to decline every year, causing concern for scientists. Over thousands of years, bats have had to adapt to predators as well as their ever-changing surroundings, and this has meant that they’ve developed an amazing sense of hearing. One common believe is that bats are blind, and although this is not the case, their eye sight isn’t the best. Alternatively, they use their super hearing powers to emit sounds, which in turn bounce and reflect of objects in their flying path – it’s like their own radar system.
Not only can this sound pulse tell the bat how far away the object is, but it also lets them know how big the object is too, all in the space of a few milliseconds. Not all bats act the same either. Some species enjoy the company of others, living life in big colonies in dark caves. Other on the other hand prefer the solitary life, fending for themselves and only meeting other bats to reproduce. Who ever knew that facts about bats could be so interesting!
For hundreds of years, bats and witchcraft have come hand in hand, and many cultures still believe that they’re the symbol of black magic and darkness. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, bats were part of the witch’s brew, and because they can fly whilst still being a mammal, they’re seen to be part of both worlds, thus generating mythical significance. In Tonga for example, bats are considered to be reincarnated souls of the dead, and in other Native American settlements, they’re seen to be trickster souls who play games with the living.
David is a huge wildlife fan and has a particular passion for bats and protecting their habitat.