Bats. Mammals. About a fifth of the world s mammals are bats. That s quite a lot!

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1 Bats Vocabulary : Mammals, warm-blooded, vertebrates, nourish, leap, glide, joints, wrists, ankles, insectivore, Megabats, Microbats, echolocation, estimate, reproduce, hibernation, adaptation, nocturnal, twilight, B ats are mammals and so are we. Mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates. They have hair or fur. Almost all mammals give birth to live young and all nourish their young with milk made by the mother. Bats are the world s only flying mammals. You may have heard of flying squirrels, but they do not really fly, they can leap and then glide because of the furry skin that goes from the joints of their front feet to the joints of their back feet. (If humans had the same skin, we would say it joined our wrists to our ankles). About a fifth of the world s mammals are bats. That s quite a lot! Mammals Bats (20%) Other mammals

2 Most bats are insectivores - they eat insects - about 70%. The rest are mostly fruit-eaters, although a few bats eat fish, and a very small group feed on the blood of other mammals. All of Canada s bats are insectivores. Bats Insectivores Fruit eaters Fish eaters Vampire bats Another way of dividing bats up is to talk about Megabats and Microbats. Most bats are microbats and most microbats eat insects. They use echolocation to find their prey. All of Canada s bats are microbats. What is echolocation and how does it work? Echolocation is a great way of building up a picture in the dark. The bat sends out a sound signal and the sound bounces off an object and comes back to the bat, telling it where the object is. Imagine you were in a tunnel. You could call out hello! and you would hear your own voice bounce back at you. In a very big tunnel, the sound wouldn t be as loud as in a small tunnel, because the walls the sounds were bouncing off would be further away. Try doing this in a large open space. Ask three friends to stand facing you. One could be a few metres away, the second further and the third further

3 still. Ask them to play Marco Polo with you. Call Marco to each one in turn. When they answer Polo, does the furthest away sound the softest? If you had your eyes shut, would you be able to estimate how far way each one was? Marco! Polo! Polo! Polo! If you had to eat bugs how many would you have to eat to stay alive and active? That s a really good question, I m glad I asked it! Let s start with being warm-blooded. Being warm-blooded is a good adaptation because it means you can live where cold-blooded creatures can t and many warm-blooded animals stay active all year round. So it allows you more opportunity to get food and reproduce. BUT.it also takes energy just to keep blood at a constant temperature. It takes fuel to heat your home and it takes fuel to heat our blood.

4 In the Lower Mainland, mammals like squirrels are active all year round. If they went to sleep hibernation for the winter, they would still have to keep warm, but they wouldn t have to find fuel in the form of food, fuel to be able to move around and.hunt for food. There aren t that many bugs around in the winter, so bats either have to hibernate to save energy, or they have to migrate somewhere where there is food. Flying is another bat activity (bativity?) that uses a lot of energy. One way of measuring food energy is calories. We can say that flying uses extra calories. But flying is how bats get their food! They use calories getting calories. To be able to fly, bats, like birds, don t weigh very much. One of British Columbia s bats, the large brown bat, can catch an insect every 3 seconds. Wow! They have to chew their food very quickly.

5 The little brown bat, the one you see most often in BC, weighs between 5 and 14 grams. So the smallest little brown bats weigh the same as a loonie, and the biggest weigh the same as a loonie and a toonie. Bats that are nursing their young often eat their own weight in insects each night. If a nursing Little Brown Bat weighs 14 grams, and a mosquito weighs 2.5 milligrams ( grams), how many mosquitoes per night would she have to eat to eat her own weight in mosquitoes? 14g g = Have you ever been to the Delta Nature Reserve when the mosquitoes are hatching? Wouldn t it be great to have a Little Brown Bat around? The bats could munch the mosquitoes before the mosquitoes could munch us! Bats usually only have one baby a year. Little Brown Bats usually live between 6 and 10 years. Many other mammals have several babies at a time but don t live very long. Mice have large litters, but only live between one and two years. Many bats are nocturnal, but some are active at twilight - dawn or dusk. If you ve ever been kept awake at night by a mosquito buzzing around, you ll know that there s plenty of bat food to be found after dark.

6 Bat Round-up! Two visitors from another planet, Zog and Vog, are trying to work out whether they are mammals or not. Vog, we need to be like the human scientists. We need to make a list of things that all mammals have and then check if we have those things or not. How can we make this list? I have a good idea Zog! In the humans Big Book of Science, it says that a bat is a mammal. If we make a list of things a bat has and can do, we can decide if we re mammals or not! Unfortunately, there s something wrong with Zog and Vog s list. Not all the things they have noticed about bats are true for all mammals. Can you strike through all the things that are only true for bats and not for all mammals? Zog and Vog s Mammals Checklist. By Zog and Vog. From the Planet Glogg. They all have fur or hair They can fly They eat insects They have a backbone inside their body They find insects by echolocation They have warm blood They are nocturnal or are active at dusk and dawn They give birth to live young The mothers make milk for the babies

7 Zog and Vog have been watching the bog all winter and they haven t seen any bats. It might be that there are no bats in Burns Bog, but there might be another explanation. Can you tell them why they might not have seen any bats in the winter? Can you tell them what time of year and what time of day would be the best time to look for bats in the bog? Now Zog and Vog are very confused. They have noticed that mother bats eat more than bats that aren t mothers. They think the mothers must be feeding the extra bugs to the babies. Can you tell them what baby bats really eat?

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