Bats are well known for falling victim to many falsehoods and myths that have been making the rounds among the public for a long time now. Bats are fascinating creatures, and if you study up on bats just a bit, then you will find that bats are not deserving of the spite that so many people show for them. In fact, the small groups of blood-sucking bats that do exist are not interested in humans at all. However, there are many different bat species; experts estimate the number of different bat species in the world now at being well over one thousand. Next to rodents, this high number of bat species living in the world today makes bats the most diverse mammals known to mankind, next to rodents that is.
When considering all of the different mammalian animals alive in the world today, bat species make up twenty percent of this group. Bats differ incredibly in size too. For example, the bumblebee bat is the smallest species of bat that scientists are aware of and they weigh, on average, a bit less than an ounce. On the other hand, the largest bat known to science is the golden-crowned flying fox. The diversity of bats also finds expression in what they like to eat. Some bats prefer to eat seeds and plants, while others, as mentioned earlier, like to feed on blood.
Despite bats being among the most successful of mammals living today, much is still unknown about the evolutionary origins of the bat species. The earliest living bat known to science is referred to as Icaronycteris. This bat is thought to have inhabited what is now modern-day Wyoming. This bat fossil does not help researchers uncover the origins of the bat because the fossilized bat looks too similar to modern day bats. It seems that scientists do not yet know which animals the bat species branched off from.
Have you ever touched a bat in you life? If you have, then how did the bat respond to your touch?