Bat Facts
Size 1.1-5.5 inch (2.9-14 cm)
Speed Up to 100 mph (160 km/h)
Weight 0.07-7 oz (2-200 g)
Lifespan 10-30 years
Food Insects, fruits, animal blood
Predators Cats, birds of prey, snakes
Habitat Worldwide (except Antarctic and Polar regions)
Order Chiroptera
Family Microbats
Scientific name Microchiroptera
Characteristics The only mammal that is able to fly

There are more than 900 species of bats worldwide, with funny names like horseshoe bat, disc-winged bat, thumbless bat or hairy faced bat. This profile provides some general information on bats.

Ultrasound Navigation

In order to navigate at night, bats emit ultrasounds up to 200 times per second. The produced sound waves are being reflected by objects and prey such as insects. Thus, the bat exactly knows where it is and can locate its prey.

Blind As A Bat?

Although bats rely mainly on echolocation, they are not completely blind. You just can not see exceptionally well ;) (unlike fruit bats).

What Do Microbats Eat?

They feed on insects that we regard as particularly annoying ;) Especially flies, mosquitoes, fruit flies, beetles, wasps and stink bugs. There are also microbats that eat fruit, but fruit bats are actually better known for this.

Importance For the Ecosystem

Microbats are very important: they keep the number of insects and therefore the nature in balance.

• Video: 15 Facts About Bats (Video opens on YouTube)

Bat Animal Profile Video

Greetings from Dracula!

Many people are afraid of bats because there are many disturbing stories about them: They are said to be relatives of the devil, wrap themselves up in women’s hair and suck the blood of sleeping humans. The bat has a bad reputation, although the trademark of one rather famous super hero is a bat costume ... Batman! At least for the Chinese the bat is a lucky charm and the Maya worshipped the bat as a god.

Do Microbats Suck Blood?

Yes, there are microbats that feed on the blood of mammals. They are called vampire bats. Sometimes they do bite people. There is no need to fear that microbats could suck a high amount or even all the blood, but they could pass on diseases through a bite. Vampire bats live exclusively in America - from the north of Mexico to the south of Chile/Argentina.

Are Microbats Dangerous?

Microbats can bite and transmit rabies. That's why you should not touch them.

Microbats in The Apartment

What can be done if a bat gets lost in your apartment? First of all, keep calm. Open the window and turn off all lights. Important: As soon as the microbats are outside, look behind curtains, in vases, behind furniture and picture frames. When they are all gone, it's best to keep the windows closed for a few days. Otherwise: Call a specialist.

Bat Bat - Photo: Gucio_55/Shutterstock

Bat Records
CategoryBat speciesRecord
Longest sleeping Brown bat 20 hours
Longest ears Brown long-eared bat 1.5 in (4 cm)*
Smallest bat Kitti's hog-nosed bat 1.1 in (29 mm)
Widest wingspan Spectral bat 40.1 in (102 cm)
Longest tongue Tube-lipped nectar bat 2.9 in (7.5 cm)*
Flying altitude Mexican free-tailed bat 10,000 ft (3,000 m)
Flying speed Mexican free-tailed bat 100 mph (160 km/h)

* Body: 1.9 inch (5 cm)!

The Largest Bat Colony

The largest known bat colony is located in Texas (USA), in a cave called „Bracken Cave“. The colony consists of 20 million (!) Mexican free-tailed bats. It is also the largest congregation of mammals in one place.

Bats Sleep During the Winter

Like bears, bats try to put on enough fat for hibernation. This is necessary to regain the normal body temperature at waking up. During hibernation the temperature significantly decreases. In frost-free caves it lies a little bit above the ambient temperature. Mostly, the animals huddle together in their homes to consume as little energy as possible.

Bat Bat - Photo: Gucio_55/Shutterstock

Not All Bats are Microbats

There is another kind of bat: the fruitbats or flying foxes, which belong to the megabats. No, it has nothing in common with a fox. In contrast to the insect-eating bats, the fruitbat prefers to feed on ... fruits, nectar and pollen. Instead of echolocation they use their sharp eyes and ears to navigate.

To the Left? To the Right?

It is said that bats always fly in the left direction when leaving their caves. But why? Presumably they let themselves be guided by the moon. When it is rising it appears on the left side from the bat’s perspective. But this is just a myth. Bats take all kinds of different directions when leaving their caves. Right, left, upwards or straight onwards.

Bat Bat - Photo: Igor Chernomorchenko/Shutterstock

Pupils are welcome to use this information at school for animal profiles, fact sheets, essays, work sheets, presentations, posters or homework. All information appearing on this site has been precisely and thoroughly researched, nevertheless should you notice any errors, please do notify us via email.