Week of September 18, 2022

Batty About Factoids


Bats are the only mammal on Earth which can sustain flight (though others can glide).


With over 1,000 known bat species, bats are the second largest taxonomic order after rodents, comprising about 20% of all classified mammal species globally.


Bats find insects prey by echolocation, the emitting of high-pitched sounds and listening to the echoes to spot nearby bugs it bounced off of. With this tactic, some bats can consume about 20 mosquitoes per minute.


Bat poop (guano) contains saltpeter, which is used to make gunpowder, and a Confederate kiln at one Texas bat cave churned out 100 lbs / day during the American Civil War.


Vampire bats are the only mammals which can live on blood alone, which they lick from tiny cuts they make on mostly unfazed livestock. Contrary to the Dracula myth, however, all known species live in Central and South America, far from Transylvania.


Eating the weight of 7 garbage trucks worth of insects might seem like a tall order, but it is done every night by the 15 million bats living in Texas’ Bracken Bat Cave, the world’s largest concentration of the animal.


The range in size of bats remarkable. The smallest species, Kitti’s Hog-Nosed Bat, have an adult weight of 2 grams and a length of about 1.2 inches, while the largest bat, the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox, might be 11 inches long and weight 3 lbs. This would be comparable to adult humans in one part of the world being about 6 feet tall and 200 lbs, and people elsewhere being 55 feet tall and 1.36 million lbs.