Many people are afraid of bats, mostly due to legends and myths. Stories say they'll get in your hair, they'll suck your blood, and that they're flat-out evil demons. But don't believe those old tales - there are plenty of facts that show bats are incredible animals. In reality, bats help humans and the ecosystem, and are some of the most fascinating animals on earth.
Many of the reasons why bats are badass are simply overlooked or unknown. For instance, did you know that there are a ton of different bat species? Or that they consume an astounding volume of mosquitos? This list shows how bats fit into the natural pecking order, and why their bodies are evolutionary marvels. You'll find that these cool little creatures are more cuddly than gross, and definitely not out for your blood.
If you're in search of some amazing bat facts, then search no more. By the time you've finished reading, you'll definitely be batty for bats!
You may have heard of flying squirrels, sugar gliders, or maybe even the colugo before - they're all referred to as flying mammals. This is a misnomer, as all of those animals glide rather than actually fly. The only flying mammal in the world is the bat. Like birds, they use their wings to push air down and their body up, and are thereby able to take to the air.
Bats are agile, too. They can turn, rise in altitude, and even hover briefly in midair. They use that flying ability to catch prey, escape predators, and move around freely.
You might think that bats and birds have similar anatomy, since they both fly, but their wings are very different. Bats have something like a hand inside their wings, including a thumb they can use for clinging and holding.
But the main difference between bat and bird wings has to do with sensitivity. The skin that covers bats' wings features touch censors, much like those found on a human fingertip. Bats' wings, however, are also covered with tiny hairs that can sense changes in airflow and air pressure. Their wings' composition allows bats to dive, bank, and rise more easily.
Bats can be broken into two groups: those that eat insects or meat, and those that eat fruit, nectar, and plants. One such insect-eating bat is the little brown bat, which lives all over North America. These creatures love to eat mosquitos, and are expert hunters. In a single hour, they can grab and consume a thousand mosquitos.
Bats are incredibly prolific. There are over 1,200 different species of bats living on every continent except for Antarctica, and certain areas have a higher bat population than human population. Bat species make up one fifth of all known mammal species, and that number could only go up as new bats are discovered.
However, out of those over 1,200 species of bats, 26 are considered critically endangered, 51 are endangered, and 954 are considered vulnerable. Humans continue to encroach on bats' habitats, and their slow reproductive cycles mean they can't make up that population depletion.