Bat Buddies at Shelter Cove
October 30, 2020
“The bat hanging upside down laughs at the topsy turvey world”
At Shelter Cove, you may have the opportunity to see a few of our bat buddies!
Many people associate bats with Halloween and death, because they are nocturnal. Bats are actually a symbol of death in the sense of rebirth and letting go of the old to bring in the new.
Megabat vs. Microbat
· Size can range from 6-40cm long
· Typically eat fruit
· Have large eyes and smaller ears to rely on their senses of sight and smell more
· Live in trees
· Have 2 claws and a thumb
· When upside down, “roosting,” they will bend their neck towards their chest and look at the world upside down
· Size can range from 4-16 cm long
· Typically eat insects
· Have small eyes and larger ears to rely on echolocation more heavily
· Live in caves
· Have 1 claw and a thumb
· When upside down, “roosting,” they will bend their neck towards their back and look at the world right side up
Currently, there are 15 different types of bats in Oregon. At Shelter Cove, you will find lots of microbats.
Because they are nocturnal, bats use echolocation to find objects through sound waves with about 10-20 beeps per second. Most bats use their mouths to use echolocation, but some of them can actually “shout” through their nostrils. Bats like large, open water sources because they are perfect swoop zones to catch insects. They can detect something as tiny as a human hair. This is what makes Shelter Cove such a create home for the bats because it is located right on Odell Lake.
Most bats have only one baby a year. These baby bats are called pups. Pups can be found by their mothers among thousands because each pup has a unique scent and voice. Their mothers can fly with their pups clinging to them, but not for long because pups can begin flying as soon as 3-5 weeks old.
Bats hang upside down “roosting” because it is the easiest way for them to take off. They don’t flap their wings like birds. Instead, they glide through the air. When on the ground, they cannot fly because their wings don’t have enough lift. This is why the drop down from their roost to glide from their hanging point
Other Fun Facts about Bats
· They are the only flying mammal
· Microbats can eat thousands of insects in one night
· The scientific name for bat is Chiroptera meaning “hang wing” in Greek because a bats wing resembles a human hand
· Bats can live up to 30 years
· A group of bats is called a colony
· Bats help pollinate fruits like bananas, mangoes, and avocados
· Bats fly about 30 mph, but some can go as fast as 100mph
While it is exciting and enjoyable to see bats, especially at dawn or dusk, please do not disturb the bats. Bats hibernate in the winter, so if you see one in the winter try not to wake it up. Bats can lose up to 30 days of energy every time they are woken up from a hibernation and risk starvation before spring. Bats typically have their pups in the summer. As cute as they are, please do not touch the babies because the mothers might get frightened and abandon them. While they are by nature, gentle animals, they may also get scared and bite out of fear and self-defense. Bat are fun to watch, but please, for their safety and yours, do not touch them.
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