Its all gone dark..that's because bats only come out at night. Welcome
to their world......
Before starting this section I knew nothing about bats. Amazing
creatures...did you know that bananas are bat
Many thanks to all the bat people, you are all credited here, but also special thanks to
Ivan & Marlies Sazima for letting me use over a dozen stunning images of
both bats, bees..& a wasp!
'Nectar-feeding bat' section. Not all the bats featured are known to
pollinate Passiflora (some species will visit up to 50 flowers in a
night so its impossible to tell) but are shown for interest as these
images are so rare. No Passiflora pictures in this section.
'Bat pollinated Passiflora' section has pictures of Passiflora and of
bats pollinating them.
The information below
courtesy of Mark Smyth:-
These creatures are probably the most misunderstood creatures in the
world. They come out while we sleep and are back in their roosts long
before we are up and about in the morning. People still believe that
bats will get tangled in long hair and will need hospital treatment to
remove them. Dracula and other horror movies don't help their image.
Most people only get to see a fleeting glimpse of a shadow that shoots
by in the twilight. In Africa tribes believe that bats bring bad omens,
while in China bats bring good luck and can be seen embroidered on the
gowns of emperors. The Chinese word 'FU' can mean bat or good luck
depending on its pronunciation.
Bats belong to an order called
CHIROPTERA, which means 'hand wing' in Greek. They are the only mammals
that are capable of true flight. Flying Squirrels can't fly but can only
glide downwards using a flap of skin stretched between their front and
back legs. The wing of a bat is very similar to our hand except that its
fingers are elongated. If we were to have fingers like a bat's they
would be about 6 feet long.
There are almost 1000 species of
bats, half of all known mammals in the world, living on every continent
including within the Arctic Circle. Worldwide there are only 2000
species of mammal. Bats belong to two bat sub-orders microchiroptera and
megachiroptera. Microchiroptera are small bats with quite large ears and
are the sort of bat people living in temperate areas are going to see.
Microchiroptera bats eat insects while the megachiroptera with their
large eyes eat fruit and are found mainly in rainforest. There is one
species of bat in the wrong sub-order. It is one of the megachiroptera that
is so small it was wrongly classed as a micro bat. Bats range in size
from the smallest called the HOG-NOSED BAT at 2g/. 07oz. This is the
size of a queen bumblebee compared to the largest bat in the world that
has a wingspan of 6 feet. This bat is the KALONG weighing 1kg/2 pounds
Few people realize that bats are
mammals and nourish their young on milk. They have the same senses as us
plus one extra. This is their navigating system called ECHOLOCATION.
This can also help bats catch their food. With this bats can see their
nighttime world with more accuracy than we can see it during daylight
hours. Using this a bat can avoid something in its flight path the width
of a human hair. Bats can catch 3000 insects a night using echolocation,
which is the same as you and I eating 50 large pizzas in 6-8 hours. Bats
echolocate at such a high frequency we can't hear them as they fly
around. The places that bats go to find food are in large planted
gardens, overgrown lanes, along rivers or low over ponds. Some bats fly
as high as swallows do during the day.
Human Factors in Bat Roosts
Due to the growth of human habitation bats are becoming more dependant
on man to provide crevices for bats to roost and breed in. the natural
place for a bat to be is in an old tree that has a rotten core with a
small hole to allow access. Some bats are quite happy to live under
exfoliating bark. As all really large old trees are now gone from the
countryside bats are looking for alternative roost sites. A small hole
in the gable of a house is the same as a hole in a tree to a family of
bats. Bats don't really mind if they are in a cavity wall, behind
hanging tiles, under lead or behind false shutters.
Bats and the law
Bats in Europe are protected under the Wildlife Order 1985. This makes
it illegal for anyone with out a license to intentionally kill, injure
or handle a bat of any species, to posses a bat, whether dead or alive
(unless obtained legally) or to disturb a bat while roosting.
Photographing bats requires a license from the Dept. of the Environment.
It is also an offence to sell or offer a bat for sale. The law does
allow the public to care for injured bats provided they are released
when the bat is well enough to fly. Bats have been given this protection
because of their special needs especially when they are roosting which
is usually in or around an inhabited building. If bats are not wanted
please go through the relevant organizations in your area e.g. DOE (NI)
Environment and Heritage Service or English Nature.
Copyright © 2000 Mark Smyth All rights reserved.