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.