greater sac winged bats 240For many, finding a mate can be pretty stressful, but not for male bats; they pretty much have it down pat. Here’s some batty tips for the dating scene ....

Greater sac-winged bats
Greater sac-winged bats roost in a tree hole in Brazil

With the arrival of Valentine’s Day, we are reminded that love is indeed in the air! For many, finding a mate can be pretty stressful, but not for male bats; they pretty much have it down pat. Courting rituals observed in bat species are quite interesting and unique! If you are looking to impress that special someone maybe these dating tips from bats might help!

Wear your best perfume

First impressions matter, and so does your smell. Greater Sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata) can guide you when picking out a personal scent. Males spend a lot of time grooming each day by filling up pouches on their wings with urine and glandular secretions. One male’s territory comprises of multiple females, thus to attract one, this bat will fly over to each female, hover in front of them and flap their wonderful perfume towards them. Works like a charm.

Long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris curasoae) are also one to woo their mate aromatically. However, they need not even hover in front of females! Instead, male long-nosed bats have dorsal patches with sebaceous glands that produces a lovely sweaty smell for the ladies!

Hammerhead bat
Male Hammer-headed bats have an enlarged rostrum, larynx and lips,
while females look similar to other fruit bats. Credit: Jacob Fahr

Don’t be afraid to serenade

Everyone loves a good love ballad right? Well, male hammer-headed bats (Hypsignathus monstrosus)  can show you how to woo a mate by honking! Hammer-headed bats, as their name implies, have fairly large heads and a nose that knows just how to honk alluringly. Female and male hammer-headed bats will gather together during mating season, in groups called leks. Hundreds of males line up and begin honking quite loudly to attract a female (click here to listen). The tone, loudness and ability to out-honk the others, are criteria females look for in a mate. Best honk wins their heart!

And that’s not all! There are many other bats species that produce love songs for females and the most melodic are probably male Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis). If you thought your shower singing was good, it’s nothing compared to male Mexican free-tailed bats with their sequences of chirps, buzzes and trills (click here to listen). And, they even remember all their lyric patterns! No wonder females go for them; they’ll remember things like anniversary dates.

Give gifts!

White-throated Round-eared bats
Female white-throated round-eared bats with one male in roost.
Credit: Christian Ziegler / Minden Pictures

Forget chocolates and flowers, male common vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) and white-throated round-eared bats (Lophostoma silvicolum) know that their species’ females much rather be gifted blood and an empty termite nest.

Both of these bat species live in harems where there is one male to many females in a given roost. During mating season, males prove themselves worthy by giving a gift to the females. Vampire bats enjoy a dinner for two and offer to a blood meal to females. White-throated round-eared bats go a little further as in to completely excavate a termite nest and offer it up as a home…with themselves included in the roommate agreement!

Other roosting bats do the same with finding good locations for roosts in tree cavities and caves then looking to attract females into their roost. But white-throated round-eared bats really take home the gold in effort. Their teeth and jaw muscles have strongly developed by using them extensively and it shows the ladies just how fit they are.

Alright, so let’s sum things up shall we? This Valentine’s Day, all you have to do is get practicing on your vocals, sweat profusely and find a really nice and practical present for your mate of choice. Bat courtship rituals have been going on for centuries, therefore, follow these guidelines and you’ll have a Valentine is no time!