Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bats, Bats, Bats!

OK, so it’s a week to Halloween and all those little munchkins will be out seeking candy galore…(guess my No sugar, no Fries song won’t work that weekend!)

Bats are the only true flying mammal! They fly through the sky, use echolocation to find their food and avoid bumping into anything if possible!

Different bats eat different food! Some bats eat insects, thousands of them in one night! Some bats eat fruit, some drink nectar from flowers and others eat fish, birds and beetles. And then of course there are vampire bats that actually do drink blood, but mostly from sheep and cows, not humans!

Bats live all over the world, except where it’s very, very cold, or very, very hot! They’re not usually found on islands or far out at sea, although the Hoary Bat is found in Hawaii.

Bats are mammals, and females give birth to live young. Many species of bats are believed to mate for life. Bats often gather together in large colonies in caves or abandoned mine shafts.

There are almost 1,000 species of bats worldwide and many of them are endangered or threatened. Educating people about bats, and dispelling many of the common myths, is important. Bats are incredible creatures that play an important role in ecosystems! They don’t get tangled in people’s hair!

Interconnections! Many species of insect eating bats such as the Big brown bat, help to keep insect populations down. Less insects, less poisonous pesticides being used - that is good for all of us! Fruit eating bats help to spread seeds throughout tropical forests, thus making sure new fruit trees and plants can grow. Without certain bats to pollinate them many important trees would disappear. Scientists studying vampire bat’s saliva, hope to learn how they could develop a medicine that would help people with heart problems.

Bats have a thumb and four fingers just like we do! The formation of the bones in bats wings are almost the same as those in our hands and arms! A mother bat returning from hunting, can find her baby in a cave filled with thousands of bats, because each bat has its own unique voice and smell.

Pick one kind of bat that lives in your region and learn all that you can about it. Where do the bats that live in your region roost? If they roost in trees, is there enough protected habitat locally where they can live? Would it be helpful to build some bat houses to put up around your house or school? You can learn how to make bat houses at a wonderful bat conservation organization. What are some other animals that use echolocation?

So…for Halloween, if you are hanging bats out on the porch and you need some accompanying music – try the bat song. It is uploaded on my MySpace page, with the lyrics.

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