Bats are fascinating nocturnal creatures that play a significant role in UK wildlife. In this article, we discuss some fascinating facts about bats.
Bats come in all different shapes and sizes. There are over 1,300 species of bat worldwide. In the UK alone, there are 18 resident species of bat – a surprising fact when most people rarely have the opportunity to spot one. There are many bat species that are sadly critically endangered – the greater mouse-eared bat has only one individual remaining worldwide.
The majority of bats have a diet made up of mostly insects, and all UK species solely feed off insects. They are natural pest control, reducing the amount of insects that are living amongst us. A small bat can consume up to 3,000 insects while they are awake in one night. Other bat species feed on fruit and plants, which plays a similar role in pollination as bees.
Bats have a surprisingly long lifespan – some UK bat species can live up to over 30 years. They also tend to live in the same area for their whole lives, meaning they could be visiting your home year after year. Similar to humans, bats only carry one young at a time – although twins are possible but rare.
Contrary to popular belief and the well known saying ‘blind as a bat’, bats do actually have eyesight. However, they use their ears to hunt in the dark using a sonar system called ‘echolocation’. The sound it creates isn’t audible for humans, but can be heard using a device called a bat detector. Bats have excellent hearing, with some species being able to hear a ladybird walking on a leaf.
If you have any other amazing facts about bats, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.