Everyone knows about bats because of Batman, but not many know any important facts about them. Below, we list 31 fun and interesting facts about bats to get you better acquainted with this amazing animal.
1. There are over 1,100 species of bats in the world. In fact, there are 40 species of bats just in the United States.
2. Bats make up a quarter of the world’s mammal population.
3. The majority of bat species can live for more than 30 years.
4. Bats can fly at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
5. Bats can find their next meal in total darkness. They find insects by emitting high-pitched sounds, which are inaudible to us, at 10 to 20 beeps per second and then listening to echoes. These sounds will bounce off objects and insects, which gives the bat an idea of its surroundings and where it can find its food.
6. Most species of bat eat insects. They’re known for eating up to 1,200 mosquitos in an hour, often eating their entire body weight in insects every single night. This greatly helps in keeping the insect population at bay.
7. Other bat species eat fruit or nectar and are important pollinators.
8. There are only three species of “vampire bats,” which live off the blood of animals.
9. More than half of the bat species in the United States are in decline and most are listed as endangered. This is largely due to white nose syndrome, which is a disease that affects all bat populations in the United States and Canada.
10. Some bat species migrate south for the winter, while some just hibernate through the winter months.
11. When they’re hibernating, bats can survive in freezing temperatures, even if their encased in ice.
12. Bats only have one offspring per year, this is one of the reasons why they’re so vulnerable to extinctions.
13. A female bat can find her offspring among thousands or millions of bats due to their unique voices and scents.
14. Bat droppings are called “guano” and they’re one of the best fertilizers. In fact, guano was one of Texas’s largest exports before oil.
15. Approximately 1.5 million bats live beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. This is the largest urban population of Mexican free tailed bats.
16. The biggest bat species in the world is called the “flying fox” and it has a wingspan of up to 6 feet. It lives on the islands in the South Pacific.
17. The world’s smallest bat species is called the “bumblebee bat” and it’s smaller than a thumbnail and weighs less than a penny. They can be found in Thailand.
18. Bats are the only mammal that’s able to fly. In fact, they’re one of the best flyers in the wild. Their wings are thin which gives them airfoil and the ability to propel themselves forward.
19. Vampire bats don’t actually suck the blood from an animal. They will bite the animal then lick the blood from the wound before flying away.
20. They have very fast metabolisms. They can digest bananas, mangos and berries in well under 20 minutes.
21. In North America, less than 10 people in the last 50 years have contracted rabies from bats.
22. Bats don’t see very well but are nocturnal animals. This is why they use echolocation to get around. While they’re not completely blind like some people believe, they are much more skilled at using echolocation to get around.
23. Bats keep warm by folding their wings around themselves, trapping the air against their bodies for instant insulation.
24. An anticoagulant that’s found in vampire bat saliva can be used to treat human cardiac patients. In fact, scientists in several countries are trying to copy the enzymes that are found in vampire bat saliva to see if they can treat or stop the effects of stroke in people.
25. Bats spend a lot of time grooming themselves. They clean each other by meticulously licking and scratching at their bodies for hours.
26. The female short nosed fruit bad, Cynopterus sphinx, performs oral sex on males to prolong copulation. Although oral sex was first observed in chimps, this is the first time it’s been seen in other animals, except humans.
27. A small colony of bats is known for eating over a ton of insects per year. This can be more than 600 million insects.
28. Some Mexican free tailed bats can fly up to 250 miles, or 402 kilometers, in a single night. They fly up to 10,000 feet, or 3,048 meters, high and reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, or 97 kilometers per hour.
29. 150 big brown bats can eat enough cucumber beetles in one summer to save a farmer a billion dollars a year. This is because the beetles can have 33 million larvae, which directly attack the farmer’s crops.
30. In Southeast Asia, small club footed bats live in bamboo stalks. To reach inside, the bats will squeeze into the opening that’s about 0.4 inches wide. That’s about as wide as a fingernail.
31. Scientists believe that bats first appeared on the planet 65 to 100 million years ago, which is about the same time as dinosaurs. The earliest known megabats lived 35 million years ago. However, some scientists believe that megabats are related more to apes than bats.