are several myths about bats. A myth is an
untrue fact or story. One is that bats are blind. In fact,
bats see very well. They also "see" with their ears.
They do this by sending out high pitch sounds that bounce
off objects and return as echoes to their ears. A bat can
sense an object as fine as one piece of human hair. Another
myth is that bats are dangerous because they can cause rabies.
Any mammal can carry or cause rabies. One bat expert said
that dog attacks kill more people each year than rabies from
bats in the last 15 years. Their reputation for carrying rabies
is not deserved. Only one case per year in the country is
linked to bats. They are to be valued for their help in controlling
are one of the least studied and most endangered kind of animal
in Pennsylvania. There are 9 different kinds of bats living
in Pennsylvania during the summer. The more common ones are
the little brown bat, big brown bat, small-footed myotis (means
bat), and Indiana bat.
range in size from 3 to 6 inches. However, their wingspans
can range from 8 to 10 inches. They only weigh up to 1 1/2
ounces. Their fur colors are a mix of dark brown, brown, black,
gray, and red. Most bats have black or brown lips but the
Indiana bat has pink lips. Bats have a web of skin stretched
from their index finger (yes, bats have fingers) to their
tails. This web of skin is attached to a wing. This allows
the bat to fly.
live from 4 to 6 years. Mothers give birth to one or two babies
in late May or early June. The young are called pups.
A female rears only one "pup" per year.
live in groups called a colony. Their homes
are called roosts. In summer, bats will live
near a water supply because that is where mosquitoes breed.
They can set up housekeeping in warm attics, under loose pieces
of bark, and even under large bridges.
bats hibernate in caves and abandoned mines.
Bats find the same crack in the wall 600 feet below the surface
for hibernating year after year. The temperature needs to
be about 50 degrees or cooler. In that way, bats do not use
up much energy. Most caves and deep mines are 50 degrees or
below and this is good news for bats.
bats have been losing their natural habitat. Some people have
bulldozed mines shut destroying thousands of bats. Without
a place to set up their roosts, some bats have become endangered.
people are buying small wooden boxes called bat houses, or
bat condos. They should be hung 10 or more feet high in a
spot that gets more than 7 hours of sunlight (in the summer).
Also, they should be hung upside down because bats enters
the opening from the bottom. They will climb to the top of
the box. Bats really do "hang out" or upside down.
eat all kinds of insects, bugs, and beetles. A bat can eat
half of its weight in one night. The most common bat is called
little brown bat. One little brown bat can eat up to 1,200
bugs/insects, such as mosquitoes in an hour. A colony of 100
little brown bats can eat as many as 250,000 mosquitoes in
one night. A colony of big brown bats can eat 600,000 cucumber
beetles in one growing season. They are considered to be carnivores,
or meat eaters.