Media & Education
BATS Magazine

Volume 35, Issue 3, 2016

5 Weird Facts About Bats


Eastern Tubed Nosed Bat Nyctimene robinsoni 0044475 MerlinTuttle
Eastern tubed-nosed bat (Nyctimene robinsoni)
Photo: MerlinTuttle.org

With over 1,330 species of bats around the world, you just know there have to be some weird and wonderful creatures out there. Check out these five amazing facts about bats!

1. SOME BATS HAVE LONG TUBES FOR NOSES

Tube-nosed bats are some of the strangest looking bats you might find, but in a weird way they are also some of the most endearing. The Queensland or Eastern tube-nosed bat, Nyctimene robinsoni as its name suggests, has long tubular nostrils. Scientists are not really sure why these tubes evolved—can you guess?

2. ALL BATS HAVE BELLY BUTTONS

Bats are the second largest group of mammals in the world. With a few exceptions like monotremes (mammals that lay eggs, like the platypus), nearly all mammals get their bellybuttons the same way we do—from their moms’ umbilical cords.

3. BABY BATS ARE HEAVY

Most bats’ moms give birth to a single pup at a time, for good reason. Baby bats can weigh up to one-third of their mother’s body weight. To put that into perspective, just imagine birthing a two-year-old (40-pound) human baby! Could you imagine having twins (which some bat species do)?

Male Hammer-headed bats make honking
noises to attract the females. Photo: Jakob Fahr

4. SOME BATS HONK

Male hammer-headed fruit bats, Hypsignathus monstrosus, produce large honking calls to attract females during mating season. The males have a large head with an enlarged rostrum, larynx and lips that allows them to make these weird calls.

5. A STICKY SITUATION

Some species don’t have the thumbs that other bats have on their wings. Instead, species like the Spix’s disk-winged bat (Thyroptera tricolor) have evolved suction cups that let them cling to and climb up smooth surfaces. With these suction cups on their wings and ankles, the bats are able to cling to the inside of smooth leaves where they can hide while they sleep. Since they don’t have to hang by their toes, they are the only bats that sleep right side up!

All articles in this issue:

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