October 24th-31st is Bat Week! It’s an annual celebration of the important role bats play in nature. Many people don’t realize how vital bats are to pest control, pollinators and seed dispersers. So we’ve rounded up 10 amazing facts about bats to help you understand why we should all work together to save these endangered species.
- Bats are the only mammals that fly. Scientists classify
them into an order called “Chiroptera” which means
- There are more than 1,300 species of bats in the
- Many bats eat insects and can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes
in an hour! They often consume their body weight in insects
every night, helping keep bug populations in check.
- Bats are important in controlling many disease-carrying
and crop-harming insects. They save US
farmers over $1 billion annually!
- Fruit-eating bats spread seeds as they fly and digest
food, which reseeds deforested land.
- Bats can live more than 30 years and can fly at speeds of up to 60 mph.
- Nectar-feeding bats pollinate many valuable plants
including bananas, balsa wood, agave, mangoes, and
- In addition to sight, many species of bats have
ultrasonic sonar capabilities (echolocation), which they
use to navigate and catch insects in total darkness.
- There are three species of vampire bats that drink
blood from non-human animals such as cows, pigs,
goats, and chickens. These small bats live in southern
Mexico, Central America, and South America.
- More than half of the bat species in the United States are in severe decline
or listed as endangered. In addition to loss of habitat,
one of the most dire threats comes from white nose syndrome
a disease that has decimated bats in the U.S. and Canada.