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13 Facts You Didn’t Know about Bats

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bats are the stuff of legend—and, for some people, nightmares. But they’re also fascinating creatures. Here are 13 facts you (probably) didn’t know about these amazing mammals.

Bats are the only mammal truly able to fly (sorry, Rocky, flying squirrels are merely gliders). They’re also only the fourth creature in the history of the world to master flight, after insects, pterosaurs, and birds.

Bats make up nearly a quarter of all mammal species. Experts believe there are at least 1200 species of bats, out of 5400 total mammal species.

Vampire bats don’t suck blood. They lap it up, after using their razor-sharp teeth to make a small cut that lets the blood flow. One reason to go to night events at the Denver Zoo (like Zoo Lights) is to watch the vampire bats drink from their small dishes of blood, although they are sometimes up during the day.

An anticoagulant found in bat saliva may become a stroke treatment. But it’s only in the development phase and may never become a full medication.

Only about 10 people have gotten rabies from bats in the last 50 years. Bats are commonly blamed for spreading the disease, and they can, but they rarely transmit it to humans.

Bats have amazing metabolisms. A single brown bat can eat 1200 mosquito-size insects in an hour. That’s almost a third the weight of an average specimen. For a 160-pound person, it’d be the equivalent of eating four Beau Jo’s challenge pies in an hour. And fruit bats are no slackers. They can completely digest a mango in 20 minutes!

The largest bat is the giant golden crowned flying fox with wing spans up to nearly 6 feet.

The smallest bat Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, only about an inch long.

The bed bug is closely related to the bat bug, a blood-sucking parasite that feeds on bats in caves. Anthropologists have posited that the two species diverged when some bat bugs hitchhiked with human hosts who took up part-time residence in caves.

Bats work hard to keep clean. Bats have meticulous grooming habits, and they clean both themselves and other bats in the colony.

Unlike rodents, bats are very long-lived. Bats can live up to 30 years or more.

Again unlike rodents, bats typically have only one pup at a time.

Finally, unlike rodents, about 50% of bat species in the US are endangered.

This last fact makes bats the unluckiest of all mammals. However, even though bats are endangered and need to be protected, that doesn’t mean you want them around your home. If you are bothered by bats, Animal & Pest Control Specialist can install one-way doors that let bats leave their roost, but don’t let them return.

For help removing bats in the Denver area, from Evergreen to Castle Rock, please contact Animal Pest Control Specialist today.


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