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Fun Facts

  • Bats are the only true flying mammal. Flying squirrels have flying in their name but they cannot actually fly, they only glide from branch to branch (Batcon, n.d.; Kernan, 2001).

  • The smallest bat is a bumblebee bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai) also known as a Kitti’s hog-nosed bat in the suborder of microchiroptera. They live in Myanmar and Thailand, roost in caves, and hunt for insects and spiders in bamboo forests. These bats are considered one of the smallest mammals on Earth with the body and head about 30mm long and wingspan about 170mm. They weigh up to 2 grams, that is lighter than a single dime (Burns, 2013). 

  • The largest bat is a giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus). They can have a wingspan of up to 1.7 meters, body and head length of 290 mm, and weigh up to 1200 grams. They are endangered and are endemic to (only live in) the Philippines. They live in large colonies and are frugivorous (eat fruit), in particular their favorite food are figs (Animalia, n.d.).

  • Bats are a keystone species. A keystone species is an animal or plant that other animals and plants depend on. For example fig trees need bats to disperse their seed in order to reproduce. Some fruit trees like bananas need bats to pollinate their flowers in order to produce fruit. Many plants depend on bats as a natural pest control, to keep too many insects from eating them (Batcon, n.d.; Lunney and Moon, 2011; Primmack, 2010)

  • Bats have a very low reproduction rate as compared to other mammals around the same size. In general, small mammals live shorter lives and have high reproduction rates. Most bats will have one litter per year with one pup per litter (Batcon, n.d.). In comparison, the American deer mouse can have up to 14 litters in one year with up to 9 babies per litter (Sullivan, 2018). 

  • Natural predators of bats include owls, hawks, raccoons, and snakes (BatWorld, 2013; USDOI, 2017).

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