You’ll want to go to bat for these awesome mammals after reading about their supercool skills.
1. Bats keep insects from bugging you.
Photograph by All Canada Photos, Alamy Stock Photo
These flying mammals eat up lots of pesky insects. In fact the little brown bat from North America, pictured above, can gulp more than 1,200 mosquitoes in one hour! Without bats around, you might have a lot more annoying bug bites.
2. They have superhero hearing.
Photograph by Adrian Ciurea, Dreamstime
Bats have special cells in their ears that make them extremely sensitive to noise. The hearing ability of some bats is so strong they can detect the sound of a beetle walking on a leaf.
3. The mammal comes in all sizes.
Photograph by Bidouze Stéphane, Dreamstime
Over a thousand bat species exist, from tiny to titanic. A Kitti’s hog-nosed bat from Southeast Asia weighs about the same as a dime. Meanwhile the Malaysian flying fox, pictured above, can weigh two pounds and has a six-foot-long wingspan.
4. They can give you a thumbs-up.
Photograph by Igor Chernomorchenko, Shutterstock
Bats have thumbs! Shaped like hooks, the thumbs stick out from the top edge of a bat’s wings. The animals use their thumbs for clinging to trees and eating.
5. The animals like big parties.
Photograph by Kushal Bose, Shutterstock
Bats hang out in groups called colonies. In the summer, Bracken Cave in New Braunfels, Texas, is home to a colony of more than 20 million free-tailed bats. And during warmer months one bridge in Austin, Texas, pictured above, is a hangout spot for 1.5 million free-tailed bats.
Text by Andrea Silen, NGS Staff