The truth about bats

Published October 29, 2008

Bats are one of the most misunderstood of all creatures, having been long associated with tales of vampires and other spooky Halloween stories. But did you know bats are actually very amazing and beneficial animals? We’d like you tell the true tale of these  creatures and dismiss any rumors of them being blood suckers, or creepy flying goblins of the night! Bats are mammals and account for more than 25% of all mammalian species. They are the only mammals capable of true flight. But don’t worry; they aren’t flying around in search of human blood.  70% of all bat species eat insects and most of the remaining 30% eat fruit, pollen, and nectar. So why are they important to us? Bats are very vital to the ecosystems in which they live. They are considered to be the forgotten pollinators.  The seed dispersal and pollination activities of fruit and nectar eating bats are vital to the survival of rain forests. And here in North America bats account for the removal of more than 5 tons of insects nightly. The National Aquarium currently has 5 grey-headed flying foxes, also known as fruit bats, on exhibit in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes. They are commonly found in and around the rainforests of northeastern Australia. In the Aquarium, however, they can be seen hanging at the top of the glass pavilion, so be sure to look up when you visit! This Halloween as you celebrate all things spooky, we encourage you to appreciate bats for the magnificent mammals they are!
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