What are Bats?
Bats are mammals; the only mammals capable of actually flying. Bats have wings strikingly similar to that of human hands, except they have elongated fingers webbed together by a membrane that is stretchy. This makeup is the thing that allows them true flight. There are more than 900 species of bats world-wide, which constitutes a quarter of all mammals on Earth! Bats are classified under the Chiroptera Order, which is subsequently categorized under two suborders, megachiroptera and microchiroptera. From there, bats are further categorized into nearly 200 genera, and then again to the 900+ species mentioned earlier.
Bats are similar to nature’s pest management, because 70 percent of bats consume pests for foods. There are alternatives to protein rich insects, like fruits, nuts, and nectar. Other species of bats dine on those foods based on the region they’re from. There are a small population of bats which have small prey like birds, frogs, fish, Critter Control and lizards. One well-known and popular bat that does this is that the South American Vampire Bat.
Where Are They Really?
With the exception of super chilly Polar Regions and hot deserts, bats are found almost anywhere in the world. Their populations, however, range from countless to dangerously declining numbers. Because bats are miniature, conservative, and nocturnal, they can be perceived as rare mammals. Many bats, nearer to urban and domestic culture, prefer to dwell in attics, abandoned mine shafts, barns, as well as caves. Others make their house on hollow trees, rock cavities, and other lands that keep them protected from predators and changing weather conditions because it gives them seclusion for breeding their own young.
Breeding and Reproduction
The average gestation period for a microbat is about six months, or 40 days. This is longer for larger bats. The size of this litter is much similar to humans. There is usually 1 puppy that is birthed, but in some cases there may be two or even more. Taking under consideration the size of the bat, they are one of the slowest breeders on earth. At birth, a baby bat can weigh up to a quarter of their mother’s dimensions; this would be like a human having a 30 pound baby.
Mortality is fairly high among young bats. They are vulnerable to falling out of nests in large areas, and incapable of returning to the security of the nest. In other cases, parasites and disease is the reaper of small and young bats. But, if bats are able to dodge these unforgiving circumstances, they can actually grow quickly and learn to fly within 3 weeks of their life! Bats can live long lives, sometimes up to 20 years or longer!