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BATS, CAVES, AND OTHER THINGS...
Bats!!!

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Why they need to be protected and other interesting facts.

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This is a picture of two little brown bats, or Myotis lucifugus. They are only a couple of inches long and tend to like cooler climates to live in, such as northern Maine. This pair was found in Allagash Ice Caves.

Bats are mammals, the only ones that can fly. They have wings that extend from the bones of their forearms to the rear of their bodies. Their whole body is covered with fur, sometimes even their eyes.

Chiroptera is the scientific order for bats. There are close to 1000 different species, existing on every continent except Antarctica. They come in many different sizes, the smallest being the Bumblebee bat, which weight less than a penny, and the largest being the flying foxes, which can have a wingspan of up to 6 ft! All the bats can be put into one of two groups, Megabats or the larger ones, and Microbats.

There are upwards of 750 species of Microbats in the world. These bats dont need to see to catch food or fly; they use a method called echolocation. The bats emit ultrasonic squeaks that they only hear. These sounds bounce off rocks and prey and the bats can tell how far away it is and how big it is. That is why bats go crazy when keys are jingled together near them; they also make ultrasonic sounds that confuse them. Microbats are nice to have around, because they eat insects. In one night a bat can eat half of its weight, or about 600 mosquitoes an hour. That amounts to about 100,000 tons of insects eaten a year!

Megabats live in warmer climates where there is a supply of fruit for them to eat. Most of the Megabats can't echolocate, but rather they use other senses to help them around. They have big eyes, which have powerful vision and a good sense of smell. So the old saying blind as a bat is false, in fact they can see very well.

Interesting facts about bats:

If it weren't for bats, there would be no tequila. Bats are the primary pollinator for the agave plant, of which tequila is made out of.

Many bats are endangered species, especially the ones in Guam where the people have pretty much eaten all of them!

They don't fly at your hair; they are just flying around your head to eat the mosquitoes there.

Vampire bats don't suck human blood. There are three different kinds of vampire bats, the common vampire bat preys on livestock, the hairy-legged vampire bat targets birds, and the white-winged vampire bat uses the blood of both mammals and birds. In fact they don't suck it at all, they make an incision in the livestocks ankle, then form a cup with their lower lip and lap it up. Not to mention they don't drain the animal lifeless, vampire bats only need an ounce of blood a nightto survive. They are also considered quite a compassionate mammal as they will take in orphaned pups and bring them up as if they were their own.

Bats can hibernate during the winter months on the fat they've stored during the summer. They slow their breathing down and their heart rate goes from 400 beats to 25 beats a minute.

Bats are much like humans in the fact that they usually give birth to one young at a time. But baby bats can fly and hunt on their own sometimes as soon as one month old. The mother bat gives birth to the pup with the help of gravity. She hangs by her thumbs and catches the baby with her tail. These baby bats are born with strong feet and sharp claws because as soon as they are born they have to hang on to their mothers or else they will die.

Bats can't walk or even land on the ground; they need to be able to drop to be able to fly.

Bats always fly left when exiting a cave.