Soil and Rocks

Is there soil by trees?

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Bats are Mammals

A long time ago, people used to think bats were birds without feathers.  But now we know that there is no such thing as a featherless bird.  We know that bats are MAMMALS, just like people.

Some of the things that tell us bats are mammals:

  • bats are warm blooded
  • Bats give birth to live young
  • bats nurse their babies with milk
  • bats have fur 

But bats are very special mammals.  

They are the only mammals that can fly (without an airplane!)  Flying squirrels are mammals too, but they don’t really fly.  They jump from high in a tree glide through the air like a kite.  Bats flap their wings and fly like a bird.

Where do bats sleep?

The bat cave!

The place where a bat sleeps is called its “roost”. Bats have a summer roost and a winter roost.

Bats hang UPSIDE DOWN from their roosts when they sleep.

Although some bats roost in groups of only one or two, for the most part bats are very sociable animals.  They usually sleep together in huge groups.

Some caves may be home to thousands of bats.  The largest bat colony in the world is in Bracken Cave, Texas.  During the summer, this cave is home to as many as 20 MILLION Mexican free-tailed bats.  That's a LOT of bats!
Caves aren't the only place that bats "hang out".  Bats also sleep in trees, mines, under bridges, in bushes and even in old buildings or barns.  Some tiny South American bats make tent-like shelters out of palm tree leaves.

Bats that might have typically lived in caves have begun to adapt to urban life by modifying their behaviour to live in man made structures in the city. The largest urban bat colony is under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. The bridge is home to about 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats. To put that in perspective, Austin is home to only a little over 1.5 million people -- there are nearly as many bats living under the bridge as there people living in the entire city!

What do you call a bat baby?

A baby bat is called a "pup"

Bat pups are tiny when born, but grow up fast.  Some species are flying and hunting on their own within a month of birth.

Bats, like people, usually only have one baby at a time although on occasion they’ll have twins.

Pups are born without hair — they look tiny, scrawny and pink.  They drink milk from their mothers like all mammals do.  They are born with strong legs and claws because they have to hang on to mom when she’s roosting and to the cave when she’s not there.  If the baby looses its grip and falls, it will die.