Bats are possibly some of the most misunderstood creatures. For centuries now, they’ve been associated with a whole slew of evil and unsavory forces, like vampires, fear, and death. In reality, bats are some of the most fascinating animals on the planet and a vital member of many ecosystems. How could you possibly deny those cute pointed ears, the teeny tiny bit of fuzz that covers their entire body, or those adorably dainty wings? So if you were a fan of Stellaluna growing up, begged your parents to take you to the bat exhibit at the zoo, or were just a freaky kid that maybe thought they were a bat, boy do we have the post for you. Here are some amazing tattoos of our favorite nocturnal cuties.
Did you know that the largest urban bat colony in the world makes their home underneath the South Congress Bridge in Austin, Texas? The Bracken Bat Cave is home to 1.5 million Mexico Free-Tailed bats. Every night at sundown, the colony flies out from under the bridge in an absolutely spectacular natural phenomenon, attracting visitors from all over the world. The world’s largest bat colony resides just a few hours south in San Antonio, Texas. Home to nearly 20 million bats, the colony is so large that when it flies out from its cave every night, it registers on Doppler radar as a storm. The colony will eat over 200 tons of bugs in one night, which is roughly the equivalent of a fully grown blue whale. Needless to say, San Antonio and Austin are both great places to live and vacation if you have a crippling fear of insects.
The largest bat in the world is the Flying Fox which has a wingspan of up to six feet, and lives on islands in the South Pacific. Unlike most bats, which use echolocation to locate their next meal, Flying Foxes eat fruit, and therefore lack any sort of echolocation. There are several species of Flying Foxes, but none are larger than the Giant Golden Crowned Flying Fox, which is endangered and facing possible extinction due to poaching and deforestation.
The average bat life span is 10-20 years, but some species can even live up to 30. While there are humongous colonies of bats living in and around North America, several species of bats are also endangered due to a fungus called white nose syndrome. A disease that only affects hibernating bats, white nose syndrome is a type of fungus that grows on the bat's nose, causing them to act against their natural instincts of hibernation, instead flying out during the cold winter months. The disease can also cause loss of body fat and death.
Bats are some of the cutest, coolest, most underappreciated mammals around, and although they aren’t necessarily the cuddliest, although we wish they were, bats definitely deserve a fighting chance against white nose syndrome. After all, who will protect you from bugs when they’re gone? You can learn more about white nose syndrome here.