13 Incredible Bat Facts

Incredible Bat Facts, 7-13

When you finish reading our list of incredible bat facts, you may have a much different opinion of bats than you did before.

7. Bats make up a quarter of all mammals. Yep, you read that right. A quarter of all mammals are bats. There are more than 1,100 species of bats in the world. That's a lot of bats!

8. More than 50 percent of bat species in the United States are either in severe decline or are listed as endangered. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. Industry, deforestation, pollution, and good old-fashioned killing have wiped out many bats and their habitats. For information on how to help keep bats around, contact your local conservation society.

9. Cold night? Curl up next to a bat! Inside those drafty caves they like so much, bats keep warm by folding their wings around them, trapping air against their bodies for instant insulation.

10. An anticoagulant found in vampire bat saliva may soon be used to treat human cardiac patients. The same stuff that keeps blood flowing from vampire bats' prey seems to keep blood flowing in human beings, too. Scientists in several countries are trying to copy the enzymes found in vampire bat saliva to treat heart conditions and stop the effects of strokes in humans.

11. Bats have only one pup a year. Most mammals of smallish size have way more offspring than that. Think cats, rabbits, and rats.

12. The average bat will probably outlive your pet dog. The average lifespan of a bat varies, but some species of brown bat can live to be 30 years old. Considering that other small mammals live only two years or so, that's impressive.

13. Bats wash behind their ears. Bats spend more time grooming themselves than even the most image-obsessed teenager. They clean themselves and each other meticulously by licking and scratching for hours.

Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen