Do you like bats? Or do you immediately think about rabies and Dracula?
[Photo of a bat with one of his wings wrapped around his body and his tiny claw touching its face. Its head is tilted to one side].
At my parent’s home, we often see them flying around the garden (in spring/summer) at twilight. Which is logical, because they hibernate (they usually start when the temperature of evenings drops to 10 degrees Celsius). They are incredibly fast and rather small, but they’ve a very recognizable flying pattern. We’re happy when we see them flying over, because they are great against mosquitos. Below a few facts about the bat, to help against the negative stigma they have.
[Photo of four baby bats lying next to each other, wrapped in towels with only their heads sticking out]
- They are the only mammals who can actually fly
- They use echolocation (but you probbaly already knew this). However, their eyes are also good for looking around at twilight.
- To stay alive they have to eat an amount of insects equal to 25-50% of their body weight.
- On a warm evening a single bat can eat around 3000 insects (mosquitos, moths etc.).
- Sometimes they wake up during their hibernation to catch some insects. However, this costs so much energy that they can’t do this too often, or they won’t make it till the end of the winter.
- In Europe all bat species eat insects. In tropical countries they may also eat fruit, nectar, fish or meat.
- Only 2% of all the bat species around the entire world eat blood, meat or fish.
- The vampire bat is known for having blood as their only food source and lives in South America (they usually get this from sleeping cattle).
- The bodies of bats are adapted to hanging upside-down. It doesn’t cost them any muscle power.
- There are over 1000 different bat species.
- Last but not least, they won’t fly into your lovely hair-do (but they can come close).
[Photo of a bat holding a bottle containing milk with his wings and drinking of it. With his hind legs he’s holding a stuffed koala bear to his body.]
How convenient! Now he can drink and cuddle at the same time.