Thursday, March 24, 2011

Facts About Bats - strangefacts

  • More species of bats live in Texas than in any other part of the United States
  • Tens of thousands of bats live in the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico
  • The largest known colony of bats lives in Bracken Cave in Texas. Biologists estimate more than 20 million Mexican Free-Tail bats call this cave home
  • In China, bats are considered good fortune
  • Bats make up almost a fourth of all mammal species. Only the order of rodents has more
  • Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly. Other mammals may glide and give the appearance of flight, such as squirrels and lemurs, but only bats possess powered flight and can hover, flap and soar
  • The term "blind as a bat," is incorrect. Bats have perfectly acceptable eyesight, but the majority use echolocation while in flight, and hunting
  • Male bats have the highest rate of homosexuality of any mammal
  • Vampire bats use rivers to navigate
  • Bat wings are made of two thin layers of skin stretched over the bat's arm and fingers. Bats have a thumb and four fingers, just like people
  • When bats fly, they don't just flap up and down. If you watch them closely, it almost looks like they're pulling themselves through the air -- the movement is similar to the butterfly stroke in swimming
  • When most of us think of bats, the Vampire Bat is one of the first to come to mind. Vampire bats don't really turn into Count Dracula, they rarely bite people and they rarely kill their prey
  • Vampire bats prey mainly on cows, horses and other large mammals. They make a shallow wound with their razor-sharp teeth then they lick up the blood. Each bat only drinks about an ounce of blood each night
  • Scientists have found evidence that bats have existed for 50 million years. Some scientists believe it may have been even longer
  • Bats feed at night (they are "nocturnal") and spend the day sleeping in caves or in tree tops. The place where a bat sleeps is called its "roost"
  • Caves aren't the only place that bats "hang out". Bats also sleep in trees, mines, under bridges, in bushes and even in old buildings or barns. Some tiny South American bats make tent-like shelters out of palm tree leaves
  • During spring, bats return from migration or awaken from hibernation and the females begin having baby bats called "pups"
  • Bats smell, hear, taste, feel and see just like people do. The term "blind as a bat" isn't really accurate. Bats have perfectly good eyes for seeing in the daylight. The problem is, they do most of their hunting at night
  • There are a lot of different kinds of bats -- from the tiny bumblebee bat (which is the size of a jellybean and weighs less than a penny) to the huge Bismarck flying fox (with a wingspan as long as an average man)
  • Bats are grouped into two main groups -- the large fruit eating bats (also known as "flying foxes" or "megabats") and the smaller bats ("microbats") who eat insects, blood, fish, lizards, birds and nectar
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