Bat FactsBats are not blind. All species can see, but many have poor eyesight.
Most bats are harmless, but wild bats may carry rabies.
All bats are not black. They may be brown, gray, yellow, or red.
The largest bat has a wingspan of five feet.
The bat is the only flying mammal.
Bats fly in the dark by sending out high-pitched sounds. Echoes bouncing back help them navigate through the darkness.
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera (pronounced /ka?'r?pt?r?/ from the Greek cheir hand and pteron wing whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly, and can only glide for a short distance. Bats do not flap their entire forelimbs, as birds do, but instead flap their spread-out digits, which are very long and covered with a thin membrane or patagium.
About Bats. Bats represent about twenty percent of all classified mammal species worldwide, with about 1,240 bat species divided into two suborders: the less specialized and largely fruit-eating megachiroptera, or flying foxes, and the more highly specialized and echolocating microchiroptera. About seventy percent of bats are insectivores. Most of the rest are frugivores, or fruit eaters. A few species such as the Fish-eating Bat feed from animals other than insects, with the vampire bats being the only parasitic mammalian species. Bats are present throughout most of the world, performing vital ecological roles of pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds. Bats are important in eating insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides.
The smallest bat is the Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat, measuring 29–34 mm (1.14–1.34 in) in length, 15 cm (5.91 in) across the wings and 2–2.6 g (0.07–0.09 oz) in mass. It is also arguably the smallest extant species of mammal, with the Etruscan shrew being the other contender. The largest species of bat is the Giant Golden-crowned Flying Fox, which is 336–343 mm (13.23–13.50 in) long, has a wingspan of 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) and weighs approximately 1.1–1.2 kg (2–3 lb).
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