Bat Facts for Kids
Bats are a part of the natural balance of nature and they are needed to keep everything in order.
There are all types of bats all around the world and each type has developed depending upon their location.
Bats are mammals and are the only mammals on the earth that actually fly.
Even though ‘flying squirrels’ are thought to fly, they actually only glide.
Bats love to eat bugs! Because of this, they reduce the number of pesticides that are used by farmers.
This is really good for the environment and helps to reduce the amount of damage that bugs can cause.
Bats and Tequila
The lesser long-nosed species ranges of bats are found in Mexico.
Mexican Tequila companies have bat-friendly practices in place. They allow their blue agave plants to fully flower (which is how they make tequila) which are in the natural migration patterns of the lesser long-nosed bat.
The lesser long-nosed bat helps to pollinate the agave plants.
The bats play a crucial role in agave pollination and have helped to save and grow the tequila industry.
Many Mexican companies market themselves as being bat-friendly.
Fun Bat Facts for Kids:
- Bats are the only flying mammals in the world.
- Believe it or not there are over 1000 difference bat species in the world.
- Bats are nocturnal so sleep during the day and are awake at night time.
- Their wings are an extension of their skin.
- Most of the time they feed on insects and some bots like to eat fruit, fish and even blood.
- There are only three species of bats called vampire bats but that like blood.
- The order name of the bat is called Chiroptera, which means ‘hand wing’. It’s called that because their wing structure is almost the same as our hands.
- There are more species of bats than any of the other mammals. With 1,200 species, bats make up one quarter of the mammals in the world.
- Bats eat a lot of different things. Those bats that eat fruit are called ‘flying foxes’ or mega-bats and that variety has large eyes. The fruit bats live in Australia, Asia and Africa and they consume the fruit and the fruit nectar. Like birds and butterflies, they help to pollinate the fruit trees by landing and eating the fruit or nectar.
- Bats come in many sizes. The biggest bat in the world is the Malayan Flying Fox. It has a six foot wing span and can weigh up to two lbs. The smallest bat is very tiny. The Kitties hog-nosed bat or ‘Bumblebee bat’ is about the size of a dime and its wing span in only six inches.
- Most bats eat insects and they play a big part in keeping the insect populations down. A bat can eat as many as 2,000-6,000 insects per night. Imagine what the world would be like if they didn’t eat all of those. We would be overrun with bugs!
- Bats use ‘echolocation’ in the air, the same way that dolphins and whales use it under water. They send out a noise and then wait for the sound waves the echo or bounce back once it has hit an object. If nothing bounces back it shows them it is safe to keep flying forward. Using the ‘echolocation’ they can also tell how far away something is by the speed that the sound waves return to them.
- Bats live in large groups called ‘colonies’ and prefer darkened places like caves, dead trees, crevices in rocks and even in people’s homes. One house in Texas had a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that numbered twenty five million.
- Bats hang upside down because they can’t stand upright. This is due to the way they are built. They have a very small pelvic area.
- They hang upside down almost all of the time, including when they are socializing, drinking and even eating. If we hung upside down, gravity would make all of the blood rush to our heads. Not so in bats, because they don’t weigh enough for gravity to have any effect on the circulation of their blood.
- You have probably heard of vampire bats. They fly at night and land on animals. Unlike the stories, they only drink about one tablespoon of blood that are often collected from many animals each night. The three species of vampire bats only live in Central and South America and Mexico. They prefer field animals such as chickens, goats, cows, and pigs.
Some bats can fly very quickly. There are a few that have been clocked at speeds of fifty miles per hour.
Bats typically live to around thirty years as an average, but have a life span from ten to twenty years.
People keep track of bats, often capturing and releasing them after they check their health and weight. One bat that was captured was forty one years old.