All About Bats for Kids: Animal Videos for Children – FreeSchool

You’re watching FreeSchool! Hunters of the night, they awake as the sun
goes down and fly through the darkness in search of prey. No, we’re not talking about vampires – we’re
talking about bats! Bats are nocturnal, which means they are active
at night. There are more than 1,100 species of bats, making them the second-most common
group of mammals on the planet. About one species of mammal in every five in the whole
world is a bat! Bats live almost everywhere, except the Arctic, Antarctic, and a few isolated
islands. They usually roost in caves, old buildings, or trees, although they may also
be found on the underside of bridges. Bats are mammals, which means they are warm-blooded,
they have fur, and they feed their babies milk. Unlike any other kind of mammal, however,
bats can FLY! Bat wings and bird wings are different. Bird
wings are like arms, with feathers growing out of them to provide lift and allow flight.
Bat wings are like hands with very long fingers. Thin, leathery skin stretched between the
‘fingers’ is what makes the surface of the wings. Because bats have more movement in
their wings than birds do, they can change direction faster than birds can, which makes
it easier to catch their food. Most bats eat insects: about 70% of all bats
are insectivores. Many of the rest eat fruit or nectar. Only three species drink blood. Bats that drink blood are called ‘vampire
bats,’ but there’s no reason to fear these small creatures. Native to Mexico and South
America, two of the vampire bat species prefer to drink blood from birds, and the third prefers
blood from cattle. Although they may sometimes drink human blood, people and animals bitten
by vampire bats won’t turn into vampires. There are two main types of bats: megabats,
and microbats. Microbats are the smaller type of bats, ranging
from the Bumblebee bat at 4 cm or less than 2 inches in length, all the way to the spectral
bat, with a length of 13 centimeters or 5 inches and a wingspan up to a meter. Microbats use echolocation. Although bats
can see well with their eyes, they sometimes fly into completely dark places, like deep
caves, where navigating by sight is impossible. Even when some light is present, finding flying
insects in the dark is a difficult task. Echolocation is something like the sonar used
by ships and submarines to find things underwater. When bats fly, they make small, high pitched
noises, too high for humans to hear. The sound waves travel away from the bat. If they hit
something, they will echo, or bounce back. From the shape of the echo, the bats know
what is in front of them. This is why bats don’t crash into things in the dark. Megabats are generally larger than microbats,
although some, like the Mauritian tomb bat may only grow to a length of 6 cm or 2.5 inches
in length, the largest – the giant golden-crowned flying fox – may have a wingspan of up to
1.7 meters or 5.6 feet). Megabats are also called ‘fruit bats’ because
they eat fruit or nectar. Because of this, most megabats do not use echolocation, and
so have much smaller ears compared to their heads than microbats do. Megabats also have
a much stronger sense of smell than microbats. No matter what kind of bat they are, bats
are important members of the ecosystems in which they live. Bats that eat insects help
control pests like mosquitoes. Just one bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour!
Bats that drink nectar help pollinate plants so that they can produce fruit. Over 500 plant
species depend on bats for pollination, including some species of mango, banana, and cocoa.
Even bats that eat fruit help spread the seeds from inside the fruit so that new plants can
grow. Bats are amazing! I hope you enjoyed learning about bats today.
Goodbye till next time!

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