Cloud formationsNovember 15, 2011
Great titNovember 16, 2011
For many years bats were much maligned creatures.
Bats are the only mammal capable of true flight. Other mammals like the ‘flying squirrel’ are only able to glide but cannot sustain flight under their own power. For a long time little was known about the life of bats and they were shrouded in superstition and folk law. Being nocturnal didn't help their image and we didn’t have the modern equipment to study them that we have today.
Bats are in fact very useful and interesting mammals and have one of the most sophisticated method of catching prey in the animal kingdom. They are a great help to gardeners because they consume large amounts of pests like aphids. A single bat can eat as many as 3,000 insects each night, and most of all they are no danger to people whatsoever.
A bat’s wings are quite unlike those of a bird. They have no feathers but consist of a membrane of skin stretched between what are essentially the fingers of an extended hand. This gives them extraordinary manoeuvring capabilities. Their bodies are covered in fur and being mammals the female gives birth to live young. The females produce only a single offspring each year (called a ‘pup’) but not necessarily every year. For this reason it takes a long time for a colony to be replenished should it suffer a serious reduction in numbers, which has in the past, before they became a very protected species often been caused by human activity. Males live a semi solitary life gathering in roosts of just a few, but females congregate in what can become large roosts of many hundreds, although with the drastic reduction in their numbers these are more rare today.