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!
Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!
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Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.
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