October is Bat Appreciation Month! It may seem odd to honor an animal that is so widely despised, but as is often the case, the reputation of the bat says more about the folks who fear it than it does about the animal itself. You shouldn’t fear or hate bats. They’re fascinating little critters. And while some are quite odd looking, others are downright cute (yes, cute!). We’re not sure who came up with Bat Appreciation Month. Everyone seems to agree it happens every October. But we don’t find any information on when it started or why. October does seem like an appropriate month for it, though. After all, many Halloween displays include at least one or two bats!
Did you know?
One out of every five mammals is a bat!
A long time ago, people used to think bats were birds without feathers. Now we know that bats are Mammals, just like people. Some things which tell us bats are mammals:
- Bats are warm blooded
- Bats nurse their babies with milk
- Bats have fur
The term “blind as a bat” isn’t really accurate. Bats have perfectly good eyes for seeing in the daylight, but they do most of their hunting at night. They make high-pitched squeaks called ultrasounds which bounce back to tell them where an object is (this is called echolocation).
Below are a few fun facts about these flying mammals: (hint, they’re a lot like us)
- Scientists have found evidence that bats have existed for 50 million years.
- Bat wings are made of two thin layers of skin stretched over the bat’s arm and fingers.
- Bats have a thumb and four fingers, just like people.
- Bat fingers are very long compared to its body. If we had fingers like a bat, they would be longer than our legs!
- Bats smell, hear, taste, feel and see just like people do.
- Bat females have baby bats called pups. Like people, they usually only have one baby at a time, but on occasion they’ll have twins.
- And a less fun fact: Most of the bat species in the US are endangered. So are many species in other countries. Everything from habitat destruction to pesticides pose a danger to their lives.