Bats

Prepared By: C4 8th Grade 01-05-97

Contents

1. Title Page
Page... 1
2. Contents
Page... 2
3. Bat Facts
Page... 3-4
4. Congress Ave. Bridge
Page... 5-6
5. How To Get A Bat Out Of Your House
Page... 6
6. About Bat Houses
Page... 7
7. References
Page... 8+



My report is on bats. I will start my story off by telling you some
facts about bats.

Bat Facts

1. Did you know that the worlds smallest mammal is a Bumblebee bat that lives
in Thailand. It weighs less than a penny! 2. Vampire bats adopt orphan pups
(the name for a baby bat) and have been known to risk their lives to share food
with the less fortunate. 3. The African Heart-Nosed bat can hear the footsteps
of a beetle walking on sand from a distance of over six feet! 4. The giant
Flying Fox bat from Indonesia has a wing span of six feet! 5. Disk-winged bats
of Latin America have adhesive disks on both feet that enable them to live in
unfurling banana leaves (or even walk up a window pane). 6. Nearly 1,000 kinds
of bats account for almost a quarter of all mammal species, and most are highly
beneficial. 7. Worldwide, bats are the most important natural enemies of night-
flying insects! 8. A single brown bat can catch over 600 mosquitoes in just one
hour! 9. Tropical bats are key elements in rain forest ecosystems which rely on
them to pollinate flowers and disperse seeds for countless trees and shrubs. 10.
Bat droppings in caves support whole ecosystems of unique organisms, including
bacteria useful in detoxifying wastes, improving detergents, and producing
gasohol and antibiotics. 11. More than 50% of American bat species are in
severe decline or already listed as endangered. Losses are occurring at
alarming rates worldwide. 12. All mammals can contract rabies; however, even
the less than half of one percent of bats that do, normally bite only in self-
defense and pose little threat to people who do not handle them. 13. An
anticoagulant from Vampire bat saliva may soon be used to treat human heart
patients. 14. Contrary to popular misconception, bats are not blind, do not
become entangled in human hair, and seldom transmit disease to other animals or
humans.

Well, enough with the facts. I think that should get you ready for the
rest of my essay.


Austin, Texas Congress Ave. Bridge
A Bit Of History.......

When Engineers reconstructed downtown Austin's Congress Bridge in 1980,
they had no idea that the new crevices beneath the bridge would make an ideal
bat roost. Although bats had lived in Austin for years, it was headline news
when they suddenly began moving by the thousands under the bridge. Reacting in
fear, many people petitioned to have the bat colony eradicated.

About that time, Bat Conservation International (BCI) stepped in and
told Austinites the surprising truth: that bats are gentle and incredibly
sophisticated animals, that bat-watchers have nothing to fear if they don't try
to handle the bats, and that on the nightly flights out from under the bridge,
Austin bats eat 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects, including mosquitoes and
numerous agricultural pests.

As the city came to appreciate its bats, the population under the
Congress Avenue Bridge grew to be the largest urban bat colony in North America.
With up to 1.5 million bats spiraling into the summer sunset, Austin now has one
of the most unusual and fascinating tourist attractions anywhere!

Congress Avenue Bridge's bats are mostly Mexican free-tails (Tadarida
brasiliensis). These bats migrate each spring from central Mexico. Most of the
colony is female, and early June each one gives birth to a single baby bat. At
birth the babies weigh one-third as much as their mothers (the equivalent of a
human giving birth to a 40-pound child!). The pink, hairless babies will grow
to be about three to four inches long, with a wingspan of up to a foot. In just
five weeks, they will learn to fly and hunt insects on their own. Until that
time, each Mother bat locates her pup (baby bat) among the thousands by its
distinctive voice and scent.

What To Do If A Bat Gets Stuck In Your House

1. Open a door or window and wait for it to fly out. 2. Wait for the bat to
calm down and stop flying. When it has stopped flying put a bowl over it and
then slide cardboard under the bowl. Then all you have to do is open the door
and pick the bowl up. 3. Another way is to build a net. It should look
something like one of the nets that you use to catch butterflies in.

If You Would Like To Keep Bats Around Your House To Keep Those Insects Away This
Summer.

You can order instructions on