Bat Facts (anchor links)

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Bats are Mammals 

A long time ago, people used to think bats were birds without feathers.  But now we know that there is no such thing as a featherless bird.  We know that bats are MAMMALS, just like people.

Some of the things that tell us bats are mammals:

    • bats are warm blooded

    • bats nurse their babies with milk

    • bats have fur 

But bats are very special mammals.  They are the only mammals that can fly (without an airplane!)  Flying squirrels are mammals too, but they don't really fly.  They jump from high in a tree glide through the air like a kite.  Bats flap their wings and fly like a bird. 

A long time ago, people used to think bats were birds without feathers.  But now we know that there is no such thing as a featherless bird.  We know that bats are MAMMALS, just like people.

Some of the things that tell us bats are mammals:

    • bats are warm blooded

    • bats nurse their babies with milk

    • bats have fur 

But bats are very special mammals.  They are the only mammals that can fly (without an airplane!)  Flying squirrels are mammals too, but they don't really fly.  They jump from high in a tree glide through the air like a kite.  Bats flap their wings and fly like a bird. 

Bat Wings

Bat wings are made of two thin layers of skin stretched over the bat's arm and fingers.  Bats have a thumb and four fingers, just like people (sorry, you can only see 3 of the fingers in my photo -- it's tough to get a bat to pose!).

The bat's fingers are very long compared to its body.  If we had fingers like a bat, they would be longer than our legs!

Bat wings go all the way down the side of the bat's body and partway down its legs.  


When bats fly, they don't just flap up and down.  If you watch them closely, it almost looks like they're pulling themselves through the air -- the movement is similar to the butterfly stroke in swimming.

Bats use their wings for more than just flying.  They can wrap their wings around insects or fruit to hold it while eating.

Bat wings are made of two thin layers of skin stretched over the bat's arm and fingers.  Bats have a thumb and four fingers, just like people (sorry, you can only see 3 of the fingers in my photo -- it's tough to get a bat to pose!).

The bat's fingers are very long compared to its body.  If we had fingers like a bat, they would be longer than our legs!

Bat wings go all the way down the side of the bat's body and partway down its legs 


When bats fly, they don't just flap up and down.  If you watch them closely, it almost looks like they're pulling themselves through the air -- the movement is similar to the butterfly stroke in swimming.

Bats use their wings for more than just flying.  They can wrap their wings around insects or fruit to hold it while eating.

Bat wings are made of two thin layers of skin stretched over the bat's arm and fingers.  Bats have a thumb and four fingers, just like people (sorry, you can only see 3 of the fingers in my photo -- it's tough to get a bat to pose!).

The bat's fingers are very long compared to its body.  If we had fingers like a bat, they would be longer than our legs!

Bat wings go all the way down the side of the bat's body and partway down its legs.  


When bats fly, they don't just flap up and down.  If you watch them closely, it almost looks like they're pulling themselves through the air -- the movement is similar to the butterfly stroke in swimming.

Bats use their wings for more than just flying.  They can wrap their wings around insects or fruit to hold it while eating.

Types of Bats

There are a lot of different kinds of bats -- from the tiny bumblebee bat (which is the size of a jellybean and weighs less than a penny) to the huge Bismarck flying fox (with a wingspan as long as an average man).

In fact, there are over 900 different species of bats -- they make up one fifth of the world's mammals.  They are the second largest group of mammals (rodents are the largest).  Bats live all over the world, from the United States to Australia except for in the coldest parts.

Bats are grouped into two main groups -- the large fruit eating bats (also known as "flying foxes" or "megabats") and the smaller bats ("microbats") who eat insects, blood, fish, lizards, birds and nectar.

Megabats and microbats are quite different from one another.  Microbats live worldwide, except for Antarctica and most of the arctic region.  Most of the world's bats are microbats.

Megabats include nearly 200 species and live in tropical regions.  They look a lot more like land mammals we're familiar with -- which is why they're called "flying foxes".  Most megabats are unable to echolocate, although there are a few (like the Egyptian Rousette) that can.

There are a lot of different kinds of bats -- from the tiny bumblebee bat (which is the size of a jellybean and weighs less than a penny) to the huge Bismarck flying fox (with a wingspan as long as an average man).

In fact, there are over 900 different species of bats -- they make up one fifth of the world's mammals.  They are the second largest group of mammals (rodents are the largest).  Bats live all over the world, from the United States to Australia except for in the coldest parts.

Bats are grouped into two main groups -- the large fruit eating bats (also known as "flying foxes" or "megabats") and the smaller bats ("microbats") who eat insects, blood, fish, lizards, birds and nectar.

Megabats and microbats are quite different from one another.  Microbats live worldwide, except for Antarctica and most of the arctic region.  Most of the world's bats are microbats.

Megabats include nearly 200 species and live in tropical regions.  They look a lot more like land mammals we're familiar with -- which is why they're called "flying foxes".  Most megabats are unable to echolocate, although there are a few (like the Egyptian Rousette) that can.

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