Bat nocturnal animal<<<< Back to wild animals
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Clade: Scrotifera
- Order: Chiroptera
- Conservation status: Not Evaluated
- Hibernation: 183 days
- Habitat: woodland and caves
- Predators: Owls, Eagles, Snakes
- Food: Mice, Frogs, Fruit
- Weight: 20g - 1 kg (0.6 - 2.2 lbs)
- Speed: 40 km/h (25 mph)
- Lifespan: 10 - 30 years
- Clutch size: 3 - 6 Eggs
The bat is a mammal which belongs to the Chiroptera order (kheir=hand and pteron=wing). Bats live everywhere in the world, except the sea and polar regions. Bats that live in cold climates hibernate in winter in cool and dry places. The mexican free-tailed bat migrates. In Romania live about 30 species from 1,100 known currently. The largest bat in Romania (Nyctalus noctula) starts flying just before sunset, racing with birds.
Considering that they are insectivore mammals (can eat even 10kg of mosquitoes over a lifetime), then we understand that bats are useful animals. Few know that they are protected by law not only in our country but also across Europe. In Romania there is even an NGO specializing in protecting bats.
Species of bats:
- Big brown bat - North America gives birth to twins, unlike other bats, which give birth to only one offspring.
- Snout bat, Kitti - the smallest mammal in the world. He was first seen in 1974.
- Free-tailed bats - have a tail that stretches further than the wing membrane. These bats can fly high and fast.
- Horseshoe bats - have folds of skin around the nose, to route the sound during the hunt.
- Frugivore bat, Rodriguez - lives on an island in the Indian Ocean. The shelter of the woods now disappeared completely.
Most live in tropical forests and eat leaves and fruits. Smaller bats, called microbats, are much smaller and mainly eat insects that prey in flight.
Species in our country eat insects, but there are species that eat fruit, pollen, nectar or even carnivorous species (that feed on amphibians, lizards, birds, mice and even other smaller bats). At least three species of bats also eat small fish, which they catch flying over water, with the hind legs in the water. The association with vampires is due to species from South America that feed on blood (eg Desmodus rotundus). It attacks, especially at night, animals and , rarely, people whom they injure and suck their blood.
They have the body covered with thick dark fur. The head, relatively small in realtion to the body, has small eyes, a wide mouth and ears with large pavilions, with internal folds. Around the nostrils they have folds of skin.
Bat’s skeleton is light, consisting of thin bones, and the sternum has a small hull (bone found only in birds) where the chest muscles are attached, well developed. The limbs end with 5 fingers each. The first finger of the forelimb is free. Between these four fingers of the forelimbs, the hind legs and the tail there stretches a membrane called patagium, which helps them fly. Hind claws are well developed, curved and serve to passively hook. That’s how they rest also, wrapping themselves in large colonies, huddled against each other to keep warm.
The smell, hearing and touch are very well developed. The larynx emits ultrasounds projected onto the nose or mouth, which are reflected by surrounding objects and then captured by the pinna. In this way it can focus very well at night, even if the sight is poorly developed.
Bats form two main groups, depending on size. Frugivorous bats are large, they are named flying foxes because their figure resembles that of a fox. Micro bats look like mice with wings. Some feed in a special way. Fisher-bats, from South America, catch fish with their claws. Vampire bats of Central and South America feed on the blood of bulls and horses, rarely with human blood.
Most bats can see in the dark, but microbats use also echolocation to find their way. They emit very sharp sounds (ultrasounds) – frequency of 500 Hz per second. These sound waves ”strike” objects or animals, causing echoes. The bat can tell, after these echoes, where the prey is. Most bats are nocturnal (active at night).
The sensitivity to pollution and the diversified nutrition, made the bats to be considered ecological indicators. In an article published in December 2011, it is shown that in the galleries of Rosia Montana and in the village, compared to the 9 previously known bat species in Rosia Montana, there were identified 3 other new species (Rhinolophus hipposideros, M. brandtii and Pipistrellus). The high number of bat species confirmed in Rosia Montana: 12, compared to 34 in romania and 45 in Europe is an indicator for biodiversity.
Besides an unjustified fear, they don’t harm humans. The only thing most people know is that if they get caught in your hair, you can get them out only with scissors. It seems to be some truth here. When the hair is left loose, ultrasounds no longer strike it as a compact body, they go through it and do not return to the bat’s ear for it to realize that there is something and then it goes in it like through a net.
In Italy, they started selling the bats as house pets, but also as mosquito exterminators. In the big supermarkets of Italy, 12,000 bats were sold at 27 eruos each, in special cages, in the summer of 2010. Actually selling them was part of a project to rescue them. ”A single specimen eats at least 10,000 insects in one night, of which 2,000 are mosquitoes” explains zoologist Paolo Agnelli. ”And also it is harmless to people, it doesn’t attack and is very shy. Ugly? You are joking!!! With those big eyes they are quite cute”, said the zoologist.
Mating takes place in autumn, and in spring the female gives birth to 1-2 pups, nude,with closed eyelids and less developed members. The pups cling to the mother’s body for a while, then when wings develop, they start to fly, returning only to their mother’s chest when feeling in danger.
Did you know that:
Bats are the only flying mammals?
The bones of a bats inferior legs are so thin that no bat can use them to walk.
The bat is famous for sleeping during the day and flying at night, sees in the dark using sound waves, a system called echolocation.