8 Mind-Blowing Bat Facts
Although our paths may not cross frequently, bats have a trove of impressive qualities to know about.
In honor of International Bat Appreciation Day, we’re shining a light on the winged mammals who live in the shadows. Keep reading for eight facts about bats.
1. Bats are the only mammal able to fly
That’s right: despite being able to fly, bats are not birds. Like other mammals, bats are hairy, regulate their body temperature, and give birth to live young, but their ability to take flight is wholly unique (other mammals like ‘flying’ squirrels and lemurs are only able to glide).
2. Bats and human babies have more in common than you may think
A classic characteristic of a human baby is to babble, but did you know that baby bats do the same? Baby bats engage in ‘babbling’ behavior, where they practice various sounds and try out their vocal skills—just like human babies.
3. Bats resemble human adults, too
A bat’s wing is anatomically comparable to the human hand. Like a human, a bat has an ulna, humerus, radius, carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges. However, their bones are denser than human bones to compensate for the gravitational stresses of flight.
4. One species of bat has a surprising food source
Who says there’s no such thing as vampires? Vampire bats are the only mammals who feed solely on blood (don’t worry—humans aren’t on their menu). They differentiate between their prey using their exceptional olfactive system and ability to detect infrared radiation—a talent that no other mammal possesses.
5. Bats have some wisdom in their wings
Bats live an average of 30 years in the wild. That lifespan is longer than that of a tiger, wolverine, or brown bear!
6. Bats have preferred ‘hang’ outs
Bats can be found in nooks and crannies called roosts, which are cracks within structures like caves, tree trunks, and vacant buildings. These roosts provide a safe and dark atmosphere for bats to rest during the day.
7. Many species of bats are threatened in the US by our factory farming system
Over 200 species of bats are categorized as threatened by the IUCN, with several species directly impacted in the US by factory farming. Bats are losing their habitats to deforestation when large swaths of land are cleared to grow crops like corn and soy to feed farmed animals. Additionally, these crops are treated with harmful pesticides that further harm bats. Help put an end to factory farming in the US by urging your legislators to support the Farm System Reform Act.
8. Bats are hunted for their meat and sold as decorations
As the harmful global wildlife trade persists, bats are no exception to the variety of animals hunted and sold for commodity. You can help end the global wildlife trade and keep bats and other wildlife in the wild where they belong.