Flying foxes (seen above) are the world’s largest bats, with a wingspan of up to 6 feet! While the bumblebee bat is the world’s smallest, about the size of your pinkie fingernail. Though flying foxes may look scary, they are harmless and serve a vital function in their rainforest homes as pollinators for many native tropical trees.

•There are 3 species of bats that feed on the blood of other animals: the common vampire bat, the hairy-legged vampire bat, & the white-winged vampire bat.

• There are 1,331 species of bats around the world. But new ones are continuing to be discovered, so the number is growing!

• While not exactly immortal, many can live 30 years or more.

• Bats can fly up to 60 mph.

• These creatures of the night can locate food in total darkness by emitting high-pitched sounds and listening for the echoes.

• Bats are able to consume their body weight in insects in a single night, (making them a great natural resource for mosquito control!)

• Other bats eat fruit or nectar and therefore aid in pollination. Tropical fruit species including bananas, mangoes, and guavas depend upon bats as their pollinators, as well as the iconic saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert.

• Baby bats are called pups & mama bats can find them among thousands of others by their unique voice & scent.

• Some fly south for the winter, while others hibernate. Hibernating bats can survive freezing temperatures, even encased in ice!

• Most species in the US are endangered due to loss of habitat, as well as a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome.

Western Pipistrelle bat, illustration by Christine Elder


Celebrate Bats! Slideshow of Bats from Texas and Borneo

A slideshow I created from my trips to bat caves in Texas and Borneo.


• You can help bats by building a bat house!

Flying Fox Bat