Sunday, 1 January 2012

Batty Bats!

Labelled for reuse. Click for source. 
I recently acquired a book about bats and I thought it would be fun to share some facts about these awesome little critters with you all. After all, what Goth worth their salt doesn't love bats even a little bit! ;)

Onto the factoids! (Sorry if this is a long post...)
  • Bats are the world's only flying mammals.
  • The world's smallest species of bat is the Kitti's Hog Nosed Bat. It's around 1.1 to 1.3 inches in length and is thus often referred to as the Bumblebee Bat! These little guys weigh around the same as a penney.
  • The world's largest bat is the Gigantic Flying Fox. These bats have an average wingspan of 1.5 meters and can weigh over two pounds.
  • Some (thanks Kitty!) bats use echolocation to read their surroundings rather than their eyes. They emit a squeak which echoes off an object and bounces back to the bat, thus giving them an image of the object. They can tell the size, shape, texture, speed and direction of an object using echolocation. When they hone in on prey, they can emit over 200 of these squeaks in a second!
  • Some bats can detect objects as thin as a human hair using echolocation.
  • Some moths have developed a type of defence mechanism which 'jams' a bat's echolocation. (Ok more a fact about moths than bats but I though it was cool! )
Labelled for reuse. Click for source.
  • Bats are more closely related to humans than they are to rodents, despite what a lot of people think.
  • They are actually very important in ecological and even economic terms. For example over 30% of tree  species on the Pacific islands are pollinated or have their seeds spread  by bats. Some plants which generate millions of dollars per year for some countries require bats for their pollination and seed dispersal! (I can't get that sentence to sound right! Oh well.)
  • Bats are highly intelligent, clean and are capable of being trained in as little as two hours to respond to hand signals.
  • Vampire bats do ingest blood but they lick rather than suck blood from their prey. They have been known to feed from humans but mostly prey upon livestock. 
I hope you enjoyed this post guys, thanks for reading and a happy New Year to you all!
Miaow. x


Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

I will add, if I may, that "most bats" do not use echolocation. Only microbats (the small ones) use echolocation, however megabats (fruit bats and flying foxes) are far more populous and have fantastic eyesight. For hunting elusive mangoes, I guess.

As for their relation to humans - outside of primates, bats are our closest relatives.

I did have a bitch fit a few months ago when there was a hendra virus outbreak. People in some country town were having a huge scream about the fact that there were BATS near their RIVER!!!! OMG!!!! They could, like, swoop down and give the kids the hendra virus out of spite, or something! Not like the bats have been there for a lot longer than people. No one seems to care when it's humans giving 9000 viruses and diseases to the bat babies, though.

Bats are one of my favourite things, and are possibly the least scary animal on the planet.

linnea-maria said...

Tanks for a very informative post, and kittys comment.

The Irish Phantom Cat said...

@Kitty, no please add away! I've only just started learning about them properly so I'm no expert. I shall change 'most' to 'some' :)

Yeah they really do get a bad rap don't they? That's sad to hear though, people are so silly.

@Linnea-Maria, glad you enjoyed the post, it was really fun to write! :)

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment guys! :D x

Alexandriaweb said...

I love bats :)
I didn't know some of these things, so thank you for postingg them :)

VictorianKitty (Sophistique Noir) said...

I do love bats! How cool that they can be trained. I wonder, then, why so many old movies used such terrible prop bats instead of the real thing. ;) Low budgets, I suppose! I'm all for more trained bats in movies.