Animal Fact File Kids Zone

Bats

Bats are a bit of a symbol of Halloween, but how much do you know about them? You can learn all about bats here.

Name

We call them bats now, but they weren’t always called that. In old English and old Germanic languages, they were called ‘flittermouse’. Bat came later from the Swedish word ‘bakka’ which comes from a Latin word ‘blatta’ which actually means moth.

Habitat

Bats like all over the world. They are on all continents except the North and South Poles. There are also lots of different species of bat, each evolved to fit their location.

Bats like to live in caves, trees, and hollows, anywhere that is dark during the day. This is because the smaller species of bats are usually nocturnal. They even like in man-made buildings like barns and attics.

Larger bats prefer to live in trees as they can sleep at night and go out during the day. These ones live in Asia and Africa and look a bit funny as we are used to small bats in the UK.

Features

Bats are the only flying mammals. They have wings made of a thin stretched out skin. In many species, this has unique properties that help it heal in case it gets torn.

The smallest bat in the world weighs only 2g and is called Kitti’s hog-nosed bat. It might even be the smallest mammal in the world.

The largest bat in the world is the giant golden-crowned flying fox. This is a megabat that can weigh 1.6kg with a 1.7m wingspan!

Food

Different bats eat different things. Lots of them eat insects like moths and flies, some of them like fruits and nectar, this is what the megabats eat.

There are some species of vampire bat that drink the blood of cows and livestock. These live in Central and South America.

Human relations

There are so many different types of bats and each of them are threatened at different levels. Here in the UK bats are protected as their habitat is sometimes lost. Now if you find a bat it is illegal to disturb it, even if it is in your attic! You have to let it leave on its own.