BATS ARE AMAZING
A gray bat
(c) Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation
Many people, when they think of bats, think of
scary things that fly in the night. That is
because bats have gotten a bad "rap"
make-believe stories and movies and old
We think bats are not scary at all. In fact, we
think that bats are pretty amazing animals!
Why are bats amazing? We think they are
amazing for several reasons. One reason is
they are the only mammals that can actually
fly! They are excellent at flying too.
In fact, bats can fly hundreds of miles to go
one habitat to another when seasons change, just
like birds do. Unlike birds, though, their arms
thin, leather-like skin that is connected to each
their fingers so that they have wings.
An Eastern pipistrelle bat
(courtesy of Dr. Clark McCreedy)
Bat wings are not
just good for flying. They are
also used like a net to help the bat scoop up
Bats can do many tricks when flying. They can do
flips, and sharp turns that allow them to catch
even the trickiest of insects.
Bats' legs are
different from other mammals' legs.
The bat's knees are bent backward and when they
land they actually do a flip and land
Even more amazing is that bats rest upside-down!
Roosting this way gives them the advantage of
being able to cling to areas in caves that are
hard for other animals to reach.
Another thing that
makes them different from
birds is that their babies are born alive and
they drink milk from their mothers. They can do
this while roosting, clinging to their mothers
while hanging upside-down. Baby bats are called
Bats are not blind,
like many people think. They can
see well, and at night, bats that eat insects
(insectivores) have a special tool that helps
to find their food easily. That tool is called
echolocation. Echolocation is like a sonar that
bats can send out in order to find insects in the
dark. They send out high-pitched sounds that echo
back to them when the sound waves hit an object.
This is an animation of a
bat using echolocation
to find a tasty insect meal.
(animation courtesy of Bat Conservation, Intl.)
Different species of
bats have different echolocation sounds.
Many of these sounds cannot be heard by humans.
Scientists have found a way to record their
They can use a machine called an Anabat. This
can record the bat sounds and then the scientists
put them on their computers as wave files. The
also makes it possible to convert the sounds into
**You can listen to
four Echolocation bat sounds when
you go to our Bats of Indiana section of this
click on these bats: the Indiana bat, the Eastern
pipistrelle, the Big brown, and the Little brown
TO PAGE 2 FOR MORE BAT FACTS
of Gray bat
(c) Merlin D. Tuttle
Bat Conservation International
Echolocation animation courtesy
of Bat Conservation, International
of Eastern pipistrelle
bat courtesy of Dr. Clark McCreedy
other photos on this page:
Cannelton Elementary Media Club
by Gail Gibbons
Hollywood House, copyright 2000
Amazing Bats by
Cheryl Mays Halton
Dillon Press, New York copyright 1991
Bat Conservation International
You can e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org