Visiting the Largest Bat Colony on Earth!


[MUSIC] [OMINOUS SOUNDS] [MUSIC] If you collected every species of mammal on
Earth, a whopping one in four would be a bat. There’s more than 1300 species around the
world, one is as small as my fingernail, and another is as wide as my arms. There’s a
lot of bats out there. There’s also a lot of bats in there. This
is a very special place. Beneath our feet is the largest gathering of mammals anywhere
on Earth. 20 million or so Mexican free-tailed bats!
For the past 10,000 summers or so, these bats have come up here for the summer in what’s
known as a maternity colony. And they get hungry. Every night around sunset, they head out to
eat, and it’s an unforgettable sight. Different species eat pretty much every kind
of food there is, but the bats that live here are insectivores. A single Mexican free-tailed
bat only weighs about as much as two quarters, but all in all, this population will eat more
than a hundred tons of insects in a single night.
By doing so, they save farmers billions of dollars every year in lost crops and pesticides
that they don’t have to use. TV weathermen around here used to see evening
storms popping up on their Doppler radar, but then people on the ground would call in
saying there wasn’t a rain cloud in the sky. That’s because the radar was seeing
this. Every night invading hordes of moths ride
high altitude winds toward croplands in the midwest. Mexican free-tailed bats bats fly
as high as 10,000 feet to intercept them in epic aerial battle. Bats are the only mammals capable of powered
flight without using airplanes, a skill they evolved separately from birds and insects.
A bat’s wing is actually a highly-evolved hand, and the flexibility of their webbed
wing means that they can generate more lift and maneuver even better than birds. As adapted as they are, those flexible wings
can’t generate enough lift to carry the bats straight up out of the cave. So they
fly in this sort of cyclone shape to create an updraft. It’s like a bat-nado! I hope
you’re listening SyFy channel? It’s a tornado, made of bats. You know the old saying “blind as a bat”?
Well, bats are anything but blind. As they pour out of that cave by the millions, they
depend on their eyesight to keep from crashing into each other. But once the hunt begins,
in the dark of night, another sense takes over. Do you hear that? Nah, me neither. Bat echolocation
frequencies are above the range of human hearing, which is a really good thing. They’re so loud
it’s like holding a smoke detector six inches away from your ear. In fact, bats have to
inactivate their own hearing system when emitting their calls so they don’t drive themselves
deaf. Their ears are actually angled to let them
hear in stereo so they can triangulate the location of their prey. Scientists found that
one moth is even able to jam bat sonar by producing clicks of its own. Hungry bats make a lot of poop. In fact, there’s
more than 19 meters of guano at the bottom of this cave, in fact scientists ran out of
drilling equipment before they found the bottom. As the guano decomposes, it creates enough
heat to keep all the little baby bats warm. Aww. In addition to eating insects, some bats are
important pollinators, or they disperse seeds from the fruit they eat. Even though bat populations like this one
have been here since probably before humans have, they are in danger. Urbanization is taking away habitats and food
sources. And imported diseases like White Nose Syndrome are wiping out whole caves in
the eastern Unites States, and spreading. This fungus irritates the skin of hibernating
bats, forcing them to wake up and fly out when there’s no food to eat. They basically
starve and die of thirst thanks to an itch. Despite their importance and how amazing they
are, these incredible species are still feared and misunderstood. If you want to know more
about what you can do to help bats around the world, and just to learn more about these
awesome animals, check out a link down in the description to Bat Conservation International.
They’re the awesome people who brought us out here today, and they own all of this land
to protect this natural treasure. If you want some more awesome bat science,
check out these videos from our friends at Smarter Every Day and MinuteEarth. Stay curious.

99 thoughts on “Visiting the Largest Bat Colony on Earth!

  1. There are so many species and animals that are getting endangered, I can't keep track. I mean sharks are getting extinct, whales are depleting in populations, elephants are going downhill, monarch butterflies are disappearing, pandas are dying and entire ecosystems are being teared down for corporations. The only way to stop this in my opinion is to have a socialistic economy for the US, England, and France. That way, corporations are under stricter laws and money is more distributed, and instead of 1% have ~80% of the money, it would be like 70% of people have 60% of the money.

  2. Really happy that you guys made a video about these misunderstood and oh-so-important creatures. Bat conservation needs to become more of a topic of discussion, just as bee conservation has. 

  3. I've heard bats over my head screech while diving down to catch a moth in the air. That sound I was hearing, was that not their echolocation?

  4. Pumpkin patch and a lot more to come out with a new phone is on my phone and the other side of the year and a lot to me that the government of

  5. Why don't we use what we know about genetics to fix the white nose syndrome using genes from bats from Europe that have immunity to it?

  6. in another video you said that 1/5 mammals are bats now 1/4 did you get new information or did you just forget?

  7. i wish there were more bats were i live because of that fugis thing they're gone and now i can't go outside because of all the bugs.

  8. there is nothing evolved. i dont understand how ignorant you can be while claiming to be smart. do you see anything around yourself evolving? comon everything is so perfect and amazing that proves almighty creator Allah existence without a doubt

  9. Oooo, bats. I wanna see.
    starts video at 0:00
    O_O… IM SCARED! is this opening trying to teach kids or did pbs hired Satan and scare kids!?

  10. I LOVE bats… in my country, romania, i am one of the few people that can actualy see them at night:)) it is kind of hard… they fly at speeds beyond imagination:)) but with a trick using the high frequency lights on lamps a dodging your eyes side to side you can see them with the corner of your eyes… CRAZY…fast:)) and they are only as big as your arm so…. yeah:))

  11. this kid I know was always super terrified of them. I'm talking scared out of his mind. then one night his parents were killed by some gunslinging thug. after that the kid wasn't even phased by bats. seemed almost like he befriended them. well he went away for a while and when he came back he kinda just ran his parents company. always tired. probably still has nightmares about his parents. the only thing strange is that he showed up around the same time as batman. but they're totally not the same guy.

  12. Feared and misunderstood……. I'm scared shitless and misunderstood who takes care of me? I don't want these little demons near me, I even hate Batman movies because of those filthy mothafuckas!

  13. I don't think I understand decibels correctly enough. Isn't decibels the measure of sound pressure? So even though bat produces sound frequencies above human hearing why aren't we affected by the decibels?

  14. Cool video, except where you pretend Evolution has happened. Please don't force your Evolutionism on Free Thinking people like myself please. Thanks.

  15. I think bats are so cool <3 we have 7 bat species here in Minnesota, and they're all insectivores. I remember seeing my first bat in the wild, I thought it was so awesome.

  16. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you said it was the largest collection of mammals on the planet with 20 million bats. But Tokyo has a population of 38 million people?

  17. Also amazing is that while we use the single term "bat", fruit bats and insectivore bats do not have a common flying ancestor. The ancestors of each evolved flight separately. They are very distinct species.

  18. Yi qi is a dinosaur with bat style wings rather than feathered bird type wings.
    A real "Dragon" of the past.
    Check him out!

  19. I'm curious: When you were filming, was your microphone able to pick up the echolocation sounds? If so, were the high-frequency sounds edited out, or are they still technically in the recording?

  20. Fantastically informative video- I have recently moved to live next to a dense and vast area of farmland and couldn't understand what the 'haze' was I was witnessing just before dawn and at twilight; this explains it. Thanks so much.

  21. I can listen to a metal detector six inches away. Which must be almost as loud? Right?

    It's because i never find anything!

  22. Help the bats to survive. It's in our own best interest. We'd be eaten by mosquitoes alive, if there weren't bats. Bats are highly social and intelligent little guys – look for the Australian fruitbat channels…. there's no cuter thing on youtube.

  23. Try the YouTube channels Megabattie or Batzilla the bat if you want accurate information on bats (and a heavy dose of cuteness overload) Megabattie https://youtu.be/ravk1FLgzFI batzilla the bat https://youtu.be/or5emFWWb7U

  24. Bats are the most wrongly maligned mammals on the planet, yet humans would suffer if bats disappeared. We need the bug eaters to control pests, and we need fruit bats to spread seeds and pollinate plants. Eucalyptus trees, wild bananas, figs and dates are just four of about three hundred plants that depend on flying foxes.

  25. Guess bats would drive each other batty if they were too noisy, eh?
    Loved seeing this colorful presentation of an amazing mammal!
    Bats are so good for the planet!
    Thank you!

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