Bats, the creature which most associate with either vampires or Halloween! However, they are not as spooky as they appear! In fact, they are very smart and interesting creatures. In honor of Bat Appreciation Day, here are ten facts about the animal.
- The average lifespan for the animal is around 30 years. Known for their flying abilities, they can fly at speeds of more than 60 miles per hour.
- Even though the entertainment industry makes us believe that bats eat human blood, this is not the case! Many of bats eat insects and can often devour up to 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour, helping to reduce the bug population. Other bats will eat fruit or nectar and add to the plant’s population. There are only three species of “vampire bats” and their diet mainly includes animal blood. However, none of these species live in the United States.
- Do not try this at home! Bats have the unique ability to find their food in total darkness. By emitting a high pitch noise, the animal will pay attention to the echoes in order find their prey.
- The world’s largest species of bat lives in the South Pacific. Named the “flying fox”, the animal can have a wingspan of approximately 6 feet! The world’s smallest species bat lives in Thailand and is about the size of a bumblebee. Aww! How cute!
- Live in Texas? Try to visit the Bracken Bat Cave, it has one of the largest known colonies of bats in the entire world. Researchers found that there are about 20 million mats who live in the cave. You can probably imagine that when the bats leave, it looks like the world is coming to an end. The high bat population in the area is not beneficial to the mosquitoes! They can eat around 200 tons of bugs each night.
- Bat poop helps our plants grow! Yes, this may sound disgusting, but it is true. One a bat eats a fruit or vegetable, the seeds pass through their digestive track. The animal is expected to spread millions of seeds each year. Their poop is to thank for 95% of the tropical rain forest reforestation.
- We could not have a list about bats without having a fact about vampires! Vlad the Impaler was the first person to be called Count Dracula. He was believed to be a human vampire.
- Antarctica is the only location in the world where bats cannot be found!
- Even though it is believed that bats are blind, they actually have great vision! Some species are even able to detect ultra-violet light.
- Their wings are made up of thin layers of skin and bones. Technically, those bones are their fingers! Wings make up for 95% of a bat’s body and can help them to regulate body temperature, blood pressure, water balance, and gas exchange.
Sarah Harley is a Hufflepuff living in the NYC area. When she is not talking to random animals or collecting stickers, she is a comedy writer working in television production. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp