Bat Facts

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There are over 1,000 species of bats worldwide and each species is vital to the healthy functioning of our planet’s ecosystems. Learn more about the fascinating world of bats.

The Amazing Bat    Bats in Danger

 

The Amazing Bat

Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)  US Fish and Wildlife Service

 

Bats hold important ecological roles as pollinators, seed dispersers and top predators of night flying insects. Bats also have a number of fascinating adaptations, including echolocation, a form of sonar that allows insect-eating bats to detect their prey.  This sense of echolocation is so precise that studies have shown that bats are capable of avoiding wires as fine as human hairs within their flight paths!  Discover more about the biology, life history and ecological importance of bats using the resources below.

 

  • Are bats really blind and do they always hang upside down? Scientists from National Geographic debunk several of the myths and misconceptions surrounding bats in this recent article.
  • Read about the life history, ecology, habitat and diversity of North American bats in the National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Library.
  • Visit the Kidz Cave, Bat Conservation International’s online learning center featuring games, puzzles, videos and an interactive bat quiz to test your knowledge on bat facts.
  • BatsLIVE invites you to explore the world of caves and karsts, unique ecosystems that provide crucial habitat for bats.
  • In addition to consuming insects that reduce agricultural pests, bats provide vital services to humans.  Learn about how the saliva of one bat species is helping scientists and doctors to find new ways to treat stroke victims.
  • Did you know that the largest species of bat has a wingspan that reaches up to six feet in length? Visit the Organization for Bat Conservation for some additional fun facts about bats. 
  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nation has declared this year (2011-2012) as the International Year of the Bat to raise awareness and promote conservation actions on behalf of bats worldwide.  View a list of events or join the celebration.

 

Bats in Danger

Approximately one quarter of all bat species are threatened with extinction. Bats face critical threats to their survival, including the rapid loss of habitat to human development, light pollution that interferes with hunting behavior and the rapid spread of white-nose syndrome. 

  • Read about seven species of bats in America that are critically endangered in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s brochure “Endangered Bats of America”.  Recently, two additional species have been proposed to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Rapid land development and human encroachment into caves, old growth forests and other forms of preferred bat habitat directly threatens America’s native bat populations. Bat Conservation International outlines some of the human induced pressures effecting bats in this online brochure.
  • Urban areas that are increasingly characterized by high amounts of light pollution, which interferes with the natural hunting abilities of bats. Read more about how this problem is threatening European populations of bats.
  • White-nose syndrome (WNS) is devastating populations of bats across the northeastern states. WNS has so far resulted in a loss of over one million bats in the past four years and scientists and land managers are racing to contain its spread.