Chiroptera – Bats
Historically had a demonic reputation, and then came Covid-19…
They’re second to rodents in diversity (comprising 20% of mammalian species) but definitely surpass them in hosting infections. Bats serve as a natural repository of pathogens (including rabies).
These mammals are unique in having wings that help them fly at a speed as high as 97 km/h (60 mph) and in the pitch dark of a cave or at night.
Bats rely on the reflection of inaudible high-pitched sounds they emit to navigate and locate their prey—echolocation. From devils to superheroes, bats appear to share a rather complicated relationship with our fantasy. Some bats suck blood, after all (vampire bats!). Still, our entire ecosystems would collapse without these flying pollinators. More than 200 bat species in 60 countries are either assessed as Endangered, Critically endangered, or Vulnerable due to human activities. Protecting their many declining and endangered species is urgently needed.
Families in this order
Widely distributed bats with simple noses & the largest family of bats
We are an all-American family and many of us are vegan
This family includes the fastest mammal on earth, the Mexican free-tailed bat that can fly at speeds of 159 km/h (99 mph)
They are said to have the most handsome faces of all bats and are widely distributed across the world
With wings that are over twice the length of the body, the bats of this family are also known as long-winged bats
Generally also as ghost-faced bats and naked-backed bats – found in the Americas from the United States to Brazil
These bats get their name from the depression in their skulls that runs down the middle of their face
Found in the lowlands of Mexico, Brazil, and West Indies, these bats are commonly known as the funnel-eared bats
Living in colonies of thousands, these long-tailed bats occupy abandoned buildings, often ruined temples and palaces
A family of neotropical (Central and South America) bats – one genus and five species strong
Containing only two species (one which might already be extinct), this is the family of New Zealand short-tailed bats
There are a lot of very cute bats in the world – these flying fishermen certainly aren’t one of them!
This small South African family of bats is on the verge of extinction due to habitat loss
Known also as the thumbless bats – these bats have dark-gray fur and a thumb that is folded into their wing
Meet the Megabats, the flying foxes with a sweet tooth for fruit
Despite their name, the horseshoe bat family is decidedly unlucky
The old nose knows, and it runs in the family
The family contains orange leaf-nosed bats that are all insectivorous and found in the rift valley of Kenya
Despite their names they do not go anywhere near blood for their diet
The family of the adorably named Bumblebee bat – the smallest bat and arguably the smallest of all the mammals!