One quarter of all mammal species are bats. Worldwide there are almost a thousand species of bats! In the US alone there are 39 species of bats.
In some parts of the world, bats take the place of bees in pollinating plants. Little brown bats have life spans that may exceed 32 years.
A bat will eat half it weight in insects in a single night.
In the 1930s scientists discovered that bats use a kind of natural sonar that allows them to "see" with their ears. This amazing system is called echolocation. Most sounds that a bat uses can not be heard by humans. A bat knows where an insect is because the sounds bounce off of it and return to the bat's ears. A bat can hear the footsteps of a walking insect! Most bats send signals through their mouths, others use their noses. Not all bats use echolocation. Fruit bats use sight and smell to locate their food.
All bats can see. Bats can use echolocation even when there are distracting noises. Hundreds of bats can fly out of a cave within range of one another's sound.
The Chinese view bats as symbols of good luck and happiness. They symbolize health, long life, prosperity, love of virtue and natural death.
A colony of big brown bats can eat 18 million cucumber beetles. Plants such as bananas, mangoes, cashews, dates and figs rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal. Tequila is produced from agave plants. Seed production drops to 1/3000 of normal without bat pollinators. Nectar-feeding bats are primary pollinators of giant cacti such as the organ pipe and saguaro. Bat droppings (guano) support entire ecosystems of unique organisms, including bacteria useful in detoxifying wastes, improving detergents and producing gasohol and antibiotics.
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