Bats: Their Hidden Truths

These flying creatures may seem scary but they really are quite beautiful and beneficial.

Bat Facts

Bats just suck blood? Widely accepted as monsters, there are actually only three species of vampire bat that do eat blood, and only in small amounts (about 1 ounce). Often the "victims" are sleeping livestock and birds, and will not even realize they have been fed upon.

Many, like the ones living in Alberta, eat insects, flying insects mostly. Such as mosquitos and moths. There has been studies stating 500 to 1000 flying insects are eaten in an hour.

Many others eat fruit and other vegetation. They can be quite important in cross pollination for plants like bees and other insects.

Active at night, they sleep upside down during the day, in a warm, dark spot. They only turn right side up to excrete their wastes and to have babies.

Unlike birds using "arms" for wings, bats use their "hands" for wings (if you were this flying mammal, your fingers would be longer than your legs), providing greater flight control. They can make quick turns, rolls and flips to catch their prey and avoid objects such as leaves, trees, people and their hair.

Many of these furry creatures can see as well as you or me, but even people have a hard time seeing in the dark. Armed with echolocation (emitting and receiving sound waves) they can "see" their prey in the dark, dark night.

It is quite fun to watch their acrobatic display at dusk.

Although excellent fliers, they can also crawl around and swim.

Bat Homes

Bats live in a variety of habitats - deserts, forests, even urban dwellings.

Specifically, they like warm dark places: caves, crevices, tree cavities, cracks in houses, attics, under folded patio umbrellas, etc.

Bat Behaviour

Like all other mammals, these animals can carry rabies. However, infected ones reacts almost the opposite of a rabid dog; it becomes quite lethargic and sick like.

So once rabid, it will not fly crazily after you.

However, danger awaits. Very still, they become very vulnerable to being handled or touched by humans and other animals, and biting the unwelcome entity, transfer the disease.

If you must pick it up while listless, don't do so with your bare hands.

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