09 PM | 16 Dec

Variety Is The Spice Of Bats

The animal kingdoms are rife with millions of different species of animals (I’m no zoologist but from what I remember about the insect kingdom, the numbers of different species of bugs can be pretty astronomical). While there may not be billions of bats that are an inextricable facet of the food chain, they certainly do have a varied number of species that all contribute to the food chain and are not as nasty as popular opinion would lead most of us to believe. Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. With extremely elongated fingers and a wing membrane stretched between, the bat’s wing anatomically resembles the human hand

seminole-bat

This adorable little Seminole bat looks almost like it has a big fuzzy collar or scarf around his neck doesn’t it? I’m not sure if I would want to try and tickle him though… Maybe with a pair of heavy duty gloves on! © Florida Fish and Wildlife.

As you can see in the photo above, Seminole bats are not the stereotypically scary or seemingly violent type of bat. They are in fact a part of the family of vesper bats which are also known as common bats and their (more than 300!) species are found on every continent around the world (excluding Antarctica, but there’s not a whole lot of life to be found there of any kind). They’ve often been compared to other animals such as dogs and foxes, but primarily mice and rats. I can see there is definitely an evolutionary resemblance between them, particularly around their mouths, but since bats have developed their very effective wings, they certainly have some interesting advantages when it comes to ease of movement.

batman-begins

I think there are probably more people that know who Batman is than there are people who have a cell phone. But if you’re in the minority, that’s no problem, just remember that bats are awesome on their own but Batman makes them only that much more of a cool animal. © James.

I never heard of the term “flying foxes” before I started researching bats. The term “flying rats” was something that I heard since I was a child but I think I like to compare bats to foxes more, since rats are typically associated with disease. That said, I suppose comparing bats to rats is probably more accurate since many wild bats do carry diseases like rabies and are generally not considered to be strong candidates for petting. Personally, while I certainly like bats, I think I’d prefer not to have one for a pet.

sleeping-bats

I think seeing how peaceful and cute that bats can be, especially when they’re sleeping so soundly, can probably help dissuade a lot of people’s negative preconceptions about bats. © Yuval Haimovits.