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There are an innumerous amount of animal species in the world. They all
have adapted and evolved to survive in their surroundings. Some have grown fins,
others legs, and still others wings. One of the animals that has grown wings is
the bat. The bat is a truly great creature. It has all the characteristics of
mammals while also possessing the skill in flight of a bird.
There are more than 800 species of bats in the world. They are of many
different sizes, shapes, and lifestyles. They live all over the world and have
drawn the curiosity of millions. Bats also have the unique quality of
echolocation that it uses to catch insects. Though other mammals, like the
flying squirrel seem to fly but actually glide the bat is the only mammal that
can truly fly (Lauber 1).
A Batís Body
Due to the great variety of species of bats some characteristics vary
greatly but the Little Brown Bat is a good example of a bat. It has fur on its
body, large naked ears, its rear legs have claws, it has a tail membrane, and
it has the most distinguishing feature of a bat, wings (Lauber 9). The upper
arm of the bat is short while the forearm is very long. The wrist is very
small and from it comes the thumb and the four longer fingers. The thumb is
short and used for climbing or walking. The fingers are long and thin.
Interlocking the fingers is the wing. This set up of having the fingers in the
wing gives the bat amazing flight maneuverability (Honders 22). These bones
look similar to a human hand. They are connected by rubbery skin to the bat\'s
body enveloping all the fingers but the thumb (Bats in CT 1).
Bats have a "sixth sense" called echolocation. This was first proved by
Donald Griffin. Bats produce ultrasonic sound waves and then use the echo of
the returning sound to sense the world around them and in particularly to catch
insects. These sounds are usually out of the humans range of hearing (Fellman
42). This system is similar to that of dolphins. The sound is in the form of
clicks that increase as the bat gets closer to the insect or whatever it is
tracking (Bats in CT).
Unlike humans most insects can hear the bat\'s echolocation sounds.
David D. Yager of the University of Maryland has found that the praying mantis
has used this to its advantage. When being pursued by a bat the mantis can hear
the clicks of the bat behind it and to avoid being eaten goes into a series of
evasive maneuvers. First they extend their fore limbs and then extend their
abdomens that stops them. Then they go into a dive going twice their usual
speed and if still being pursued will crash into the ground to avoid being eaten.
This and other insects also use hearing to their advantage (Amato 781). Moths
also do amazing maneuvers in attempts of escape similar to the mantis. Tiger
moths even make their own ultrasonic clicks. It is not known whether these are
to startle the bat or to warn it that the moth is distasteful.
Despite the insects great efforts to foil the batís sonar the bat still
catches its prey more than 50% of the time (Fellman 93). Some bats even have
different frequencies than insects can hear. The competition between insects
and bats will go on forever because they will counter each others counter
measures of how an animal can evolve to how amazing abilities. Bats have
evolved to fly, use echolocation, hibernate, sleep in the day, hang by their
feet, and many other things that individual species have developed. Some large
bats, called megabats, are even thought by some scientists to be closely related
to primates because of their similar brain tissue. Bats are highly evolved
animals that have amazing characteristics.
(Gibbons 1992, Bailey et al. 1992)
HIBERNATION AND MIGRATION
The food of bat usually becomes scarce during winter months so some bats
hibernate while others migrate (Honders 75, Bourliere 95). When bats migrate
they usually move from the south to far north during the summer and they return
during the fall. Bats that hibernate prepare for the winter by getting fat in
autumn. Then they fall into a sleep more extreme than their normal daily sleep.
As in most animals, when hibernating their major bodily functions, such as
heart-rate and breathing, are suppressed greatly. Bats are known to interrupt
their hibernation because they have been seen in the winter.
Disturbing bats during hibernation can
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Bats of the United States, Bats of Canada, Vesper bats, Animal flight, Bat, Pollinators, Little brown bat, Mexican free-tailed bat, Megabat, Vampire bat, Animal echolocation, Virginia big-eared bat
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