Bats

Bats
 

Quick Facts

Bat
Found:  Everywhere but Antarctica
Size: see below
Weight:  see below
Diet:  insects, fruit, blood
Life Span:  Up to 40 years
Status:  Common to Endangered


There are over 900 species of bats that fall into three categories:  insect eating bats, fruit eating bats, and vampire bats.  Of these, 70% are insect eating bats while only 3 species are vampire bats.  The smallest bat is found in Thailand and is called the bumblebee bat because it is the size of a bumblebee.  The largest is the flying fox and has a 6 foot wingspan.  At the Zoo, we have a bat box filled with wild Mexican free-tailed bats.  It is estimated that there are anywhere between 300 and 500 in our box depending on the weather.  The largest colony of bats anywhere in the world is in Texas in Bracken cave where 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats live and eat an estimated 250 tons of insects nightly.  We depend on bats for a lot of our food to be pollinated, like mangos, bananas, cashews, dates, figs and more.  Tequilla, made from the agave plant, is also dependent on bats pollinators.  It is also said that one insect eating bat can eat up to 600 or more mosquitos an hour.  And even the vampire bats are beneficial.  An anticoagulant from their saliva is currently being used to treat human heart patients. 

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