Hut 9 preservation group                                 

Island Farm, Former German POW Camp, Bridgend, WALES                   

 

Bat Education                              


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Some interesting facts

and videos about bats

  1. THE PHYSIOLOGY OF BATS

    • Bats are nocturnal (active at night), so how do they navigate, socialise and feed in the dark?

    • Bats are flying mammals. They can fly at speeds reaching 60 mph.

    • While other mammals can glide, bats are the only mammals capable of continued flight.

    • A bat has powerful chest muscles which it uses to flap its wings. It steers by moving the bones in its fingers and legs to change the wing's shape.

    • Some bats live by themselves while others live in caves with thousands of other bats.

    • Inside the cold and draft caves bats like so much, they keep warm by folding their wings around them, trapping air against their bodies for instant insulation.

    • There are well over 1,000 species of bats worldwide, making up one-quarter of the world’s mammal population on Earth.

    • There are forty different species of bats in the United States and eighteen in the UK.

    • More than 50 percent of bat species in the United States are either in severe decline or are listed as endangered. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. Industry, deforestation, pollution, and good old-fashioned killing have wiped out many bats and their habitats. For information on how to help keep bats around, contact your local conservation society.

    • The average lifespan of a bat varies, but some species of brown bat can live to be 30 years old. Considering that other small mammals live only two years or so, that's impressive.

    • Some bats migrate south for the winter, while others hibernate through the cold winter months. During hibernation, bats can survive in freezing temperatures, even after being encased in ice.

    • Most bats have only one pup a year, making them extremely vulnerable to extinction.

    • Bat mothers can find their babies among thousands or millions of other bats by their unique voices and scents.

    • Austin is a seasonal home to North America’s largest urban population of Mexican free-tailed bats, which live beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. Approximately 1.5 million bats reside there!

    • Bat droppings, called guano, are one of the richest fertilizers. Bat guano was once a big business. Guano was Texas largest mineral export before oil!

    • Bats wash behind their ears. They spend more time grooming themselves than even the most image-obsessed teenager. They clean themselves and each other meticulously by licking and scratching for hours...

    • Pteropus (feathered feet) bats (also known as flying foxes or fruit bats) are the largest in the world. The world’s largest bat is the "flying fox" that lives on islands in the South Pacific. It has a wingspan of up six feet.

    • The world’s smallest bat is the bumble bee bat of Thailand, which is smaller than a thumbnail and weighs less than a penny.

     

  2. ARE BATS BLIND? - ECHOLOCATION

    • Bats ‘see’ in the dark using a special skill called echolocation. Bats make noises and wait for the sound waves to bounce back off objects (an echo) to their ears, if it doesn’t bounce back then they can safely fly forward. They can tell the distance of various objects by how quickly the sound waves bounce back to them.

    • Bats are not blind, but can see in complete darkness using their ears. By using echolocation, bats can find their food in total darkness. They locate insects by emitting inaudible high-pitched sounds (ultrasound), much higher in pitch than humans can hear. They emit 10-20 high frequency beeps per second and listening to echoes. In 18 century experiments a scientist realise that if he blocks the bats' ears, they stray on the ground, they refuse or crashed pathetically on obstacles. The conclusions broke the rules of 'Creation' and were not published... When the scientific community were made aware of such experiments, they considered the results as erroneous, because the experiments inflicted unnecessary suffering to the bats. For some time they decided to adopt the theory that the bat's ability to fly in the dark was attributed to the sixth 'touching/ feeling' sense. When the Titanic sunk, a scientist suggested that ships are equipped with such sixth sense similar to the bat's blind vision to make them navigate around obstacles such as icebergs. In 1937 in USA a professor made the first ever recording of bats' sounds (the equipment is now known as a bat detector) and reduced the ultrasound to lower frequencies so the human ear could hear them. In 1943, America run experiments with bats carrying miniature bombs that started a fire, in Operation X-ray. These bats were to be aimed at Japan. After 2 million dollars and the sacrifice of thousands of animals, the military cancelled Operation X-Ray. We are now in the era of animal SONAR research. Fascinating facts! For more on this watch the first framed video underneath, called Secrets and Mysteries of Bats.

    • People who describe themselves as “blind as a bat” might want to find a new turn of phrase. Scientists have recently discovered that some bats rely on polarized light to orient themselves. As bats awake at sunset and come out to feed 15 minutes after the sunset, they use the band of polarized light that appears in the sky (with one end pointing north and the other pointing south) to adjust their internal compass.

    • Bats emit sounds generally through the mouth, but Horseshoe bats and Old World leaf-nosed bats emit their echolocation calls through their nostrils, where they have developed basal fleshy horseshoe or leaf-like structures that are well-adapted to function as megaphones!

    • Bats are a hugely successful order of mammals and much of their success is down to echolocation. Just imaging how fast they need to process audio information when feeding insects or flying as fast as 60mph in the dark! Toothed whales have evolved echolocation, but let's be fair, they do not swim as fast or feed on minute insects either! Interestingly, like electric fish, which sense amplitude and phase changes of a self-generated electric field to determine location and features of surrounding objects, bats have independently evolved a jamming avoidance response (JAR). This actually helps them communicate in a large and noisy crowd of bats by changing the timing of their calls or rapidly shifting their frequency! So to find out more about bats and echolocation, you can visit these links (Wikipedia, Scientific American and Map of Life).

     

  3. WHAT DO THEY EAT? - THE VAMPIRE BAT MYTH

    • Most bats feed on insects, while others eat fruit, fish or even blood.

    • Some horseshoe bats can hover and pluck insects from spider webs, according to the BBC.

    • Bats can eat up to 1,200 mosquito-sized insects in an hour, and often consume their body weight in insects every night. In Bracken Cave, Texas, it's estimated that the 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live there eat about 200 tons of insects . . . each night.

    • Bats don't have "fat days." The metabolism of a bat is enviable. They can digest bananas, mangoes, and berries in about 20 minutes.

    • There are 3 species of vampire bats which feed solely on blood.

    • Vampire bats have small and extremely sharp teeth which are capable of piercing an animal’s skin (humans included) without them even noticing. If you are travelling in Central or South America, however, you might see a vampire bat bite a cow and then lick blood from the wound -- no sucking involved.

    • Vampire bats can carry rabies, making their bites potentially dangerous.

    • Fewer than 10 people in the last 50 years have contracted rabies from North American bats. Due to movies and television, bats are thought to be germ machines, bringing disease and toxins to innocent victims. Not true. Bats avoid people. If you are bitten by a bat, go to the doctor, but don't start making funeral arrangements... You'll probably be fine.

    • An anticoagulant found in vampire bat saliva may soon be used to treat human cardiac patients. The same stuff that keeps blood flowing from vampire bats' prey seems to keep blood flowing in human beings, too. Scientists in several countries are trying to copy the enzymes found in vampire bat saliva to treat heart conditions and stop the effects of strokes in humans.

     

bat Videos

 

National Geographic video - Throwback TV: Merlin's Bats http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/throwback-tv-merlins-bats?source=relatedvideo

 

Bat facts from the BBC (Nature Wildlife) with Bill Oddie. A ruined friary is home to some of Ireland's varied bat species: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Brown_long-eared_bat#p0081fth

 

Secrets and Mysteries of Bats

This 48-minute documentary explores the world of bats and the scientists who study them -- including the late Donald Griffin, a Harvard zoologist who was the first to describe their echolocation ability in the 1940s. Using 3-D graphics to recreate the bats' acoustic vision and shooting with infra-red and high-speed cameras, this film offers an exhilarating "bats-eye" journey into the night.

 

Bativities

In this video, you'll learn how to take a bat walk and how to garden for bats! Two great family-friendly activities to help you learn about bats and get involved in protecting these important animals.

 

Sunset Sunrise Survey

National Bat Monitoring Programme.

More bat videos on YouTube from Batsforall2012

 

Fun Facts About Bats

Learn all about the amazing world of bats!

 

The Birth of Tikkles

Tick paralysed female spectacled flying fox gives birth to a premature pup at Tolga Bat Hospital in Atherton Queensland, Australia.

 

Bat Orphans

Trish Wimberley looks after hundreds of orphaned baby bats and rears them until they can be released into the wild. It's a tireless, never ending job which keeps her awake all hours (she apparently went 3 nights without sleeping once). It just goes to show, motherhood can transcend between all species and Trish is happy playing that role to assist a creature that is vital to the Australian ecosystem.

 

Bat Zone Sneak Peek!

Take a tour through the Bat Zone and meet our amazing Animal Ambassadors!

 

Bat Zone Tour with Rob Mies

Tour the Organization for Bat Conservation's Bat Zone at Cranbrook Institute of Science with TV personality, author, and conservation biologist Rob Mies. See bats from around the world including vampire bats and the largest bats in the world!

 

How to Build a Bat House by OBC Bats

 

 


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