Types Of Bats
A Brief Look At The Types Of Bats In The World
There are well over a thousand types of bats scattered throughout the world. They will be found in most countries, though not in the Polar Regions. Bats generally prefer warm climates, but are widely scattered throughout the temperate zones. Bats vary greatly in size, some eat only fruit, others insects, and a few like blood. It is the blood eating types that inspire fear of bats in us, but by and large bats leave us alone if given any chance at all to do so.
Megabats And Microbats - Far from being fearsome creatures, most types of bats play an important role in nature. You can see then summer evenings sweeping the sky free of insects, or you may catch a glimpse of the seldom seen bumblebee bat busy pollinating plant life. If you want to see one of the larger types of bats, the fruit bat is a good choice. Though large they are not particularly terrible looking, and as they only eat fruit, you are in no danger if in their neighborhood. Fruit bats are members of one of two general types of bats, the megachiroptera and the mirochiroptera. The prefixes mega and micro usually refer to things very large and very small, respectively. As far as bats are concerned, both types consist of large bats and small bats. Megachiroptera bats, or "megabats" for short, feast on fruit, nectar and pollen, and do not eat insects or drink blood. Microchiroptera bats, "microbats", eat meat, mainly insects, and the blood drinking vampires fall into this category. The other difference between the two major types of bats is that the microbats relay on echolocation and extremely good eyesight to locate their prey. The megabats don't use echolocation, and don't see quite as well, but since their diet consists of fruit, which doesn't fly around as do insects, they don't need sharp eyesight or bat-sonar.
Was Dracula A Brazilian? - While bats in general are a very beneficial group of mammals, we tend to fixate on a type that is somewhat of a bad customer, the vampire bat. We were raised in the belief that vampire bats lived in Transylvania, an area shared by Romania and Hungary. At least that's where Dracula lived. Dracula however, must have emigrated from Mexico, Chile, Brazil, or Argentina, as that is where the three know species of vampire bats reside. Vampire bats feed at night and usually prefer warm blooded prey that is sleeping. Most of their prey consists of birds, but they have been known to drink the blood of other mammals, including cattle, as well. They generally do not land directly on their prey, but land nearby and walk along the ground to the prey. Your main chance of being bitten by a vampire is negligible unless you are sleeping out of doors, on a very dark night, in Mexico or South America.
Your chance of being bitten by any of the types of bats is in reality exceedingly slight. Even if you enter a cave, or an attic full of bats, you are unlikely to be bitten. A bat would bite in self defense if you attempted to handle it, but that's about it. Even if bitten, your chances of getting rabies is quite small, as less than one percent of bats carry the disease. Of course it is a dreaded disease, so one in a hundred is still odds you don't want to take.
Build A Bat House - If you see bats around your property, consider building a bat house. A bat house design is not terribly complicated, almost like a birdhouse, with a roost inside and without a floor. You can easily find plans on the Internet. If bats do take a liking to your bat house, and you take care not to disturb them, they'll probably stay, at least during the warm months. Your guests will more than likely be one of the microbat types of bats, cleansing your property, and your neighbor's as well, of flying insects and other pests.
Bumblebee Bats And Texas Bats - Unless you live in Thailand and a few other fortunate countries, you may never see the world's smallest bat, "Kitti’s Hog-Nosed bat", more commonly known as the Bumblebee bat. This tiny little guy is only about an inch long, with large ears and a pig-like snout. It is one of the most attractive members of the bat family and, while a voracious eater of insects, usually eats gnats, small flies, and other tiny insects because of its diminutive size and correspondingly tiny mouth.
It's difficult to talk very long about bats without Texas coming to mind. Texas is famous for its caves and bridges, where people congregate at dusk to watch bats take flight by the tens of thousands. Should you have the opportunity to visit the Lone Star State, it might be worth your while to inquire where and when you could view a bat spectacular.