Bats About Bats!

Bat-Wednesday-BlogHave you been outside lately, round about dusk? If so, you might have noticed some small shapes darting overhead. You probably felt the urge to duck! Were they small birds having one last flight before settling down for the night? Quite possibly they were bats.

Just like us, bats are mammals. They have fur, give birth to live young and produce milk for their offspring. But unlike any other kind of mammal, bats can fly. Around 555 million years ago the hands of their ancestors evolved into wings. A layer of skin stretches between a bat’s very long fingers and its hind legs which enables the bat to fly.

Many people have a fear of bats, perhaps because of the way they’ve been portrayed in old horror films as vampires. In reality there is no need to be scared of bats at all. There are some species of South American bats which feed on blood (though they are unlikely to fly into your bedroom and bite your jugular!) but every bat in the UK feeds only on arthropods.

Bats have large appetites – they need a lot of fuel to power their rapidly-beating wings. Even a tiny bat can eat 3,000 insects in just one night! The way bats catch their prey is a marvel of nature. They use echo-location to find insects flying in the dark. They then catch them and eat them in mid-air.

At this time of year female bats are looking for places to set up home. They usually do this in hollow trees but occasionally make their homes in buildings. You might find a colony in your loft – if you do then don’t panic! Get in touch with the Bats Conservation Trust. They can give you help and advice. Their website is also full of interesting information about these nocturnal navigators. Why not take a look?

To find out more about the natural world and the amazing creatures who live there, have a look at the Nature section of our site. It contains more than 60 quizzes which are all free to play. You’ll find questions on birds, mammals, invertebrates, fish, reptiles, amphibians, trees, flowers, minerals and even outer space! There’s bound to be something of interest there for you!

Have you ever seen a bat, or do you have any in your loft? If so then please send us your stories or any pictures. Here at Education Quizzes we’d love to hear from you.

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