Ten Questions: Bats
So now we have those questions you always wanted to knw about bats. This list is far from complete, but what do you want from just ten questions? I think these are some of the most interesting questions though. Maybe one day we'll return to the subject of bats so we can complete this look into these highly interesting creatures of the night.
Do all bats suck blood?
No. Most bats don't drink blood at all. Not even vampire bats really suck blood. There are only three species of vampire bats in the world, and they are all in Central and South America. They drink blood by making a small cut in a sleeping animal and lick the blood from there.
What do bats eat?
Bats eat a large variety of things. Their diet is very similar to that of different birds. Most bats like to eat insects and other invertebrates. Some will eat mice and frogs. Some like the taste of lizards or even other bats. And there are still others that only eat fruit or pollen. And then there are the blood drinking vampire bats. And yes, there are birds that also drink blood.
How big do bats get? How small do bats get?
Some fruit bats have been known to have a five to six foot wingspan. That is a very large animal. The smallest bat is called the bumblebee bat, and it weighs less than an American penny. There are many sizes and varieties of bats in between these two. There are nearly 1000 kinds of bats in the world.
Are bats blind?
No, not at all. Different bats have different ranges of eyesight, but most see about as well as you and I. This myth of blindness was started because bats use sonar (sound waves) to help detect where they are going and to detect prey or other obstacles. They do this because nighttime is when they are usually awake, and it is dark at night. We don't see very well at night either. Bats do have the best hearing of any mammal.
Do bats really get tangled in your hair?
No, bats don't get tangled in anyone's hair. Bats can detect even small insects at night with their sonar, so they know where you are, and they can easily avoid you and your hair. But a human gives off carbon dioxide, which attracts insects. The insects attract bats, which may make the bats fly close to a human in an attempt to catch the insects. But bats won't fly into your hair.
Why do bats sleep upside down?
Nobody really knows how or why bats adapted the habit of sleeping upside down, but it is known why they do it. This enables them to hide easier and make them safe while they sleep. It is easier to land on the underside of a structure because it takes less balance this way. And it is much easier to take off. All they have to do is let go.
Are bats flying mice?
Many people assumed a long time ago that bats were really flying mice because some are of similar size and both can be gray and furry. but bats are not closely related to mice at all. Bats are really taxonomically more closely related to humans than mice. Bats actually evolved over 55 million years ago, which is more than twice as long ago as rodents, which evolved only 20 million years ago.
When is the best time to see bats?
You can find bats at all hours of the day or night, but they generally prefer to go out at night because that's when their prey is active. Bats usually come out around dusk to feed. Look for an erratic flight pattern. Bats don't have the same ordered flight pattern as birds do.
Will I turn into a vampire if I'm bitten by a bat?
That is a ridiculous question. No, you will not turn into a vampire if you're bitten by a bat, or anything else. That is the least of your worries if you are bitten. There are plenty of real diseases to worry about if you are bitten by a wild animal, such as rabies. But really less than half of one percent of bats have rabies, and even then they will only bite in self defense.
Do all bats fly?
Yes! All bats fly, though each kind of bat does this in a different way than the others. There are many different kinds of bat and many differently shaped wings. Just as a fighter plane flies differently than a passenger plane, bats fly in their own individual ways.
How did you like this interesting bit of trivia? Obviously we can't answer all questions in just one article, but if we get enough feedback and a lot of comments we might just revisit this subject with another ten questions.