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African fruit Bats

After rodents, African fruit bats are the most numerous mammals on earth. These bats fall into two major categories: large fruit bats and smaller, insect-eating bats, neither of which attacks people. In addition to a difference in size between the two types, there is a great variation in the extent and details of the wings. These are formed by the naked membrane of skin that extends from the neck to the wrist and between the fingers, and finally to the tail. However, the wing shapes vary from species to species whereby the swift fliers have long, narrow wings while the slow fliers have broad, rounded ones. The hind legs are rotated 180 degrees at the hip joint, so the knee flexes backward rather than forward. This arrangement does not hamper the bat when it is perched but rather helps it push off from the roost for a quick getaway. They are very agile even on land, scuttling quickly over objects and squeezing their bodies through small openings.

African fruit Bat facts

They like to hang out with their mothers

Usually, one bat is born a year to an adult female and the mother nurses the young for up to four months. In some species, the mother carries around the infant for five or six weeks, but in others, the mothers leave them in “nurseries” while they go out to feed. Even though a young bat is two-thirds grown at six weeks, it will not become sexually mature until two years of age.

Life span

The longest-living bat is 41 years old. It’s said that the smaller the animal, the shorter its lifespan, but bats break that rule of longevity. Although most bats live less than 20 years in the wild, scientists have documented six species that life more than 30 years.

 

They are the only flying mammals

While the flying squirrel can only glide for short distances, bats are true fliers. Bats account for about one in five of all mammals living on the planet and there are around 1,300 bat species worldwide. A bat’s wing resembles a modified human hand-imagine the skin between your fingers larger, thinner and stretched. This flexible skin membrane that extends between each long finger bone and many movable joints make bats agile fliers.

Bats clean themselves

Far from being dirty, bats spend a lot of time grooming themselves. Some, like the colonial bat, even groom each other. Besides having sleek fur, cleaning also helps control parasites.

They are creatures of the night

With few exceptions, they are nocturnal and emerge from their daytime roosts only when the light of day is fading. During the day, fruit bats often roost hanging upside down in the exposed branches of trees. Other species also roost upside down in large colonies that may number in the millions, in dark caves.

They have exceptionally developed senses

Fruit bats have an acute sense of smell and large eyes that give them good night vision, both of which help them locate fruit and nectar. Insect-eating bats find their way in total darkness by emitting high-pitched squeaks through the nose or mouth as they fly. These sounds bounce off of objects and echo back to their ears. This method of echolocation, or bat sonar, allows them to locate, capture, and eat insects in midair while still detecting and avoiding objects. However, to send and receive these location signals, they have developed unique ears and noses.

 

They also have pups 

Baby bats are called pups, and a group of bats is a colony. Like other mammals, mother bats feed their pups on breastmilk, not insects and most bats give birth to a single pup. There is at least one species that commonly has twins and that is the eastern red bat.

Diet

Bats’ food preferences are denoted by their names

Fruit bats feast largely on fruit and are known for their noisy eating habits. They have large cheek pouches, enabling them to take food to be eaten at another perch, away from disturbances. To obtain water, bats munch on soft wood and bark. They usually eat overripe and unmarketable fruits, and they may even help reduce fungi and fruit flies in commercial plantations.

They also play an important role in the environment

Many plants are dependent on bats for both pollination and seed dispersal. Every November, more than eight million bats migrate from Zambia forming the largest mammal migration in the world. Migration occurs when food sources become low.

Bats control insect populations

Most bats eat insects and this is important to farmers whose crops would otherwise be eaten by insects. But these bats also play an important role in maintaining human health. One bat is capable of eating up to 1,200 mosquitoes in a single hour.

Where do they live?

Bats are found worldwide, except in polar regions and extreme deserts. They live in forests and wetlands as well as urban areas. During the day, they rest in shelters known as roosts, which include caves, mines, old buildings, and hollowed trees. They also rest upside down so they can drop quickly and fly away if needed.

African fruit Bats

After rodents, African fruit bats are the most numerous mammals on earth. These bats fall into two major categories: large fruit bats and smaller, insect-eating bats, neither of which attacks people. In addition to a difference in size between the two types, there is a great variation in the extent and details of the wings. These are formed by the naked membrane of skin that extends from the neck to the wrist and between the fingers, and finally to the tail. However, the wing shapes vary from species to species whereby the swift fliers have long, narrow wings while the slow fliers have broad, rounded ones. The hind legs are rotated 180 degrees at the hip joint, so the knee flexes backward rather than forward. This arrangement does not hamper the bat when it is perched but rather helps it push off from the roost for a quick getaway. They are very agile even on land, scuttling quickly over objects and squeezing their bodies through small openings.

African fruit Bat facts

They like to hang out with their mothers

Usually, one bat is born a year to an adult female and the mother nurses the young for up to four months. In some species, the mother carries around the infant for five or six weeks, but in others, the mothers leave them in “nurseries” while they go out to feed. Even though a young bat is two-thirds grown at six weeks, it will not become sexually mature until two years of age.

Life span

The longest-living bat is 41 years old. It’s said that the smaller the animal, the shorter its lifespan, but bats break that rule of longevity. Although most bats live less than 20 years in the wild, scientists have documented six species that life more than 30 years.

 

They are the only flying mammals

While the flying squirrel can only glide for short distances, bats are true fliers. Bats account for about one in five of all mammals living on the planet and there are around 1,300 bat species worldwide. A bat’s wing resembles a modified human hand-imagine the skin between your fingers larger, thinner and stretched. This flexible skin membrane that extends between each long finger bone and many movable joints make bats agile fliers.

Bats clean themselves

Far from being dirty, bats spend a lot of time grooming themselves. Some, like the colonial bat, even groom each other. Besides having sleek fur, cleaning also helps control parasites.

They are creatures of the night

With few exceptions, they are nocturnal and emerge from their daytime roosts only when the light of day is fading. During the day, fruit bats often roost hanging upside down in the exposed branches of trees. Other species also roost upside down in large colonies that may number in the millions, in dark caves.

They have exceptionally developed senses

Fruit bats have an acute sense of smell and large eyes that give them good night vision, both of which help them locate fruit and nectar. Insect-eating bats find their way in total darkness by emitting high-pitched squeaks through the nose or mouth as they fly. These sounds bounce off of objects and echo back to their ears. This method of echolocation, or bat sonar, allows them to locate, capture, and eat insects in midair while still detecting and avoiding objects. However, to send and receive these location signals, they have developed unique ears and noses.

 

They also have pups 

Baby bats are called pups, and a group of bats is a colony. Like other mammals, mother bats feed their pups on breastmilk, not insects and most bats give birth to a single pup. There is at least one species that commonly has twins and that is the eastern red bat.

Diet

Bats’ food preferences are denoted by their names

Fruit bats feast largely on fruit and are known for their noisy eating habits. They have large cheek pouches, enabling them to take food to be eaten at another perch, away from disturbances. To obtain water, bats munch on soft wood and bark. They usually eat overripe and unmarketable fruits, and they may even help reduce fungi and fruit flies in commercial plantations.

They also play an important role in the environment

Many plants are dependent on bats for both pollination and seed dispersal. Every November, more than eight million bats migrate from Zambia forming the largest mammal migration in the world. Migration occurs when food sources become low.

Bats control insect populations

Most bats eat insects and this is important to farmers whose crops would otherwise be eaten by insects. But these bats also play an important role in maintaining human health. One bat is capable of eating up to 1,200 mosquitoes in a single hour.

Where do they live?

Bats are found worldwide, except in polar regions and extreme deserts. They live in forests and wetlands as well as urban areas. During the day, they rest in shelters known as roosts, which include caves, mines, old buildings, and hollowed trees. They also rest upside down so they can drop quickly and fly away if needed.

African fruit Bats

After rodents, African fruit bats are the most numerous mammals on earth. These bats fall into two major categories: large fruit bats and smaller, insect-eating bats, neither of which attacks people. In addition to a difference in size between the two types, there is a great variation in the extent and details of the wings. These are formed by the naked membrane of skin that extends from the neck to the wrist and between the fingers, and finally to the tail. However, the wing shapes vary from species to species whereby the swift fliers have long, narrow wings while the slow fliers have broad, rounded ones. The hind legs are rotated 180 degrees at the hip joint, so the knee flexes backward rather than forward. This arrangement does not hamper the bat when it is perched but rather helps it push off from the roost for a quick getaway. They are very agile even on land, scuttling quickly over objects and squeezing their bodies through small openings.

African fruit Bat facts

They like to hang out with their mothers

Usually, one bat is born a year to an adult female and the mother nurses the young for up to four months. In some species, the mother carries around the infant for five or six weeks, but in others, the mothers leave them in “nurseries” while they go out to feed. Even though a young bat is two-thirds grown at six weeks, it will not become sexually mature until two years of age.

Life span

The longest-living bat is 41 years old. It’s said that the smaller the animal, the shorter its lifespan, but bats break that rule of longevity. Although most bats live less than 20 years in the wild, scientists have documented six species that life more than 30 years.

 

They are the only flying mammals

While the flying squirrel can only glide for short distances, bats are true fliers. Bats account for about one in five of all mammals living on the planet and there are around 1,300 bat species worldwide. A bat’s wing resembles a modified human hand-imagine the skin between your fingers larger, thinner and stretched. This flexible skin membrane that extends between each long finger bone and many movable joints make bats agile fliers.

Bats clean themselves

Far from being dirty, bats spend a lot of time grooming themselves. Some, like the colonial bat, even groom each other. Besides having sleek fur, cleaning also helps control parasites.

They are creatures of the night

With few exceptions, they are nocturnal and emerge from their daytime roosts only when the light of day is fading. During the day, fruit bats often roost hanging upside down in the exposed branches of trees. Other species also roost upside down in large colonies that may number in the millions, in dark caves.

They have exceptionally developed senses

Fruit bats have an acute sense of smell and large eyes that give them good night vision, both of which help them locate fruit and nectar. Insect-eating bats find their way in total darkness by emitting high-pitched squeaks through the nose or mouth as they fly. These sounds bounce off of objects and echo back to their ears. This method of echolocation, or bat sonar, allows them to locate, capture, and eat insects in midair while still detecting and avoiding objects. However, to send and receive these location signals, they have developed unique ears and noses.

 

They also have pups 

Baby bats are called pups, and a group of bats is a colony. Like other mammals, mother bats feed their pups on breastmilk, not insects and most bats give birth to a single pup. There is at least one species that commonly has twins and that is the eastern red bat.

Diet

Bats’ food preferences are denoted by their names

Fruit bats feast largely on fruit and are known for their noisy eating habits. They have large cheek pouches, enabling them to take food to be eaten at another perch, away from disturbances. To obtain water, bats munch on soft wood and bark. They usually eat overripe and unmarketable fruits, and they may even help reduce fungi and fruit flies in commercial plantations.

They also play an important role in the environment

Many plants are dependent on bats for both pollination and seed dispersal. Every November, more than eight million bats migrate from Zambia forming the largest mammal migration in the world. Migration occurs when food sources become low.

Bats control insect populations

Most bats eat insects and this is important to farmers whose crops would otherwise be eaten by insects. But these bats also play an important role in maintaining human health. One bat is capable of eating up to 1,200 mosquitoes in a single hour.

Where do they live?

Bats are found worldwide, except in polar regions and extreme deserts. They live in forests and wetlands as well as urban areas. During the day, they rest in shelters known as roosts, which include caves, mines, old buildings, and hollowed trees. They also rest upside down so they can drop quickly and fly away if needed.

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