Thirteen species of bat are listed as endangered.
Bats are the only mammals capable of true
flight. Almost 1,000 bat species can be found worldwide. In fact, bats make up a
quarter of all mammal species on Earth!
The largest bats have a 6 foot wing span. The bodies of
the smallest bats are no more than an inch long.
While some bat populations number in the millions, others are dangerously low or in decline.
The longest known life span of a bat in the wild is 30
Bats can be found almost anywhere in the world except the polar regions and extreme deserts.
Bats find shelter in caves, crevices, tree cavities, and buildings.
Different bats eat different foods. Most bats eat insects.
There are also fruit-eating bats; nectar-eating bats; carnivorous bats that prey
on small mammals, birds, lizards, and frogs; fish-eating bats; and the
blood-eating vampire bats of South America.
Some bats have evolved a very good sense of hearing. They emit sounds that
bounce off of objects in their path, sending echoes back to the bats. From these
echoes, the bats can determine the size of objects, how far away they are, how
fast they are traveling, and even their texture — all in a split second.
Most bats have only one offspring a year. Babies typically
are cared for in maternity colonies, where females gather to bear and raise
The greatest threat to bats is people. Habitat destruction and fear are a lethal combination for bats. In some areas, people have even been known to set fires in caves, destroying thousands of roosting bats.
Endangered Species Act, *CITES, Appendix I
*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international treaty with more than 144 member
countries. Appendix I listed species cannot be traded commercially. Appendix II
listed species can be traded commercially only if it does not harm their