A Bat is the Only Mammal that Can Fly



Bats have been associated with the coronavirus, which recently broke out in China and is spreading around the world. These creatures certainly aren’t glamorous in looks, but they are interesting mammals.

Bats Are Mammals
These are the only mammals who are capable of sustained flying. Their forelimbs are adapted as wings. Their long wings are covered with a thin membrane. One species of bats, the Mexican free-tailed bat, can fly 99 mph. The largest bats are named flying foxes and the giant golden-crowned flying fox. These bats often weigh as much as four pounds. Their wingspan can stretch as full as 5 feet and 7 inches.
Their Diet Varies
Many bats depend on insects to eat. Others are fruit-eaters. Some bats feed on animals, while the vampire bats, as you can imagine, feed on blood. You do not often see a bat flying around during the day, as they are mostly nocturnal. They often sleep in caves. Some people believe their nocturnal habits are their effort to escape from predators. You will find bats throughout the world, except in very cold areas. They do serve a special purpose – they pollinate flowers and disperse seeds. Several tropical plants depend entirely on bats for these services.
Bat Dung Can Be Useful
Although there are some costs involved (perhaps the coronavirus is one) bats provide humans with some benefits. One of these is bat dung. It is mined as a guano from caves. It is then used as fertilizer. They also eat insect pests, and this helps to reduce the need for pesticides. In some areas, where there are a vast number of bats, they serve as a tourist attraction. Finally, they are eaten as food across Asia and the Pacific Rim. In China, for example, people enjoy eating bat soup in restaurants. In this same country, bats are associated with happiness, joy, and good fortune.

Bats Can Also Be Harmful
These creatures are also known for the threats they cause. One of these is rabies. Since they are capable of doing a lot of flying, their mobility and long-life cause them to spread disease. This might be the reason that in many cultures, they are associated with darkness, evil, witchcraft, vampires, and death.
Bats Can Be Found Roosting Or Crawling
When bats are not flying around, they like to roost. They hang upside down from their feet. This is known as roosting. Most roost with the head tucked towards the belly, Many roost with the neck curled towards the back. Due to their tendons, they are able to lock their feet closed when they hang from a roost. Bats are awkward looking when on the ground as most of them can only crawl.
Their Visual Abilities
Bat eyes are small and poorly developed. This leads to reduced visual acuity; however, none of the species are blind. Bats can detect light at low levels. Some megabat species often have eyesight comparable to, or better than humans. Their sight is adaptable in both night and daylight vision. They have some color vision.
A Bats Social Life
There are some bats that live a solitary life. Other bats live in colonies with more than a million other bats. Living in a colony lessens the risk of danger. Some species have large numbers of bats that congregate in one area. They may also break up while breaking into subgroups. Doing so allows these bats the opportunity to maintain long term relationships. Bats are among the most vocal mammals. They make calls to attract mates or to find roost partners. Their calls can travel long distances, and they are typically low-frequency. Some bats, such as the Mexican free-tail “sing” similar to birds. Males sing to attract females. The songs have three phases: chirps, trills, and buzzes. Male bats mate with multiple females. In a few species, adult males and females form monogamous pairs. Mating takes place during late summer and early autumn. Tropical bats may mate during the dry season. Following copulation, the male might leave behind a “mating plug.” This blocks the sperm of other males. It ensures his paternity. Female bats have some strategies to control the timing of pregnancy and the birth of the young. She wants to assure the new-born arrives with a maximum food supply and other factors. In most species, the mother carries and gives birth to a single pup during each litter. A pup usually weighs 40 percent of the mother’s weight. Six species of bats have recorded a long life of more than 30 years living in the wild.