The Bat Family (The Order Chiroptera) accounts for one fifth of the mammal species on earth. The only Mammals on earth to fly, Bat Family is divided into two groups – Megachiroptera, the large Fruit Bats of the Old World, and Microchiroptera, the smaller Bats that people know worldwide.
Known as “Flying Foxes”, Megachiroptera have foxlike faces with large eyes. Flying with steady wing beats, Flying Foxes rely on their sense of smell and sight to navigate. With wide spans the size of a small adult, These Bats, also, use their wings as flippers for swimming. Flying Foxes feed on fruit, pollen, and nectar. Vital to the forests they live in, They promote the growth of new plants.
Microchiroptera hunt at night, using echolocation to locate Insects. In addition, these Bats eat fruit and pollen. They roost in caves, under bridges, any place where the temperature of the air remains stable.
Bats are social animals living in huge colonies. In their colonies, They have Nurseries for Mothers and Pups. Contrary to superstitions, Bats do not become entangled in people’s hair. Exceptionally long lived for small Mammals, Bats will enter a state of torpor to conserve energy.
In Western countries, Bats thought are symbols of desolation and the underworld. One reason is because They could not be classified as any known animal. In the Medieval European mind, this is in violation of God’s Laws. However, in China, Bats bring good luck and happiness. In fact, the Chinese word “fu” means either “bat” or “blessings”.
Fear of bats is fear of the shadows. Bats teach you to face your fears. They navigate through dark places with their echolocation. Bats can be your guides through the known places of your fears.
Drawing of "Bat" copyrighted by Mary Ann Sterling. Photo of Fruit Bat courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service