Have you heard these 8 Facts about Bats?

In our fantastic animal kingdom, bats stand out as some of the most ingenious and creative. With their iconic dark shapes fluttering through the night sky, these flying creatures have fascinated people for hundreds of years and have been linked to both fortune and fear in folklore.

Within over 1,400 species of bats lie a realm of remarkable adaptations and behaviours that challenge our understanding of the animal kingdom. In this October 2023 blog post, I unravel the layers of mystery surrounding bats, revealing some of their unique natural features that have piqued the interest of scientists and enthusiasts alike.

Exciting News!

I’m thrilled to announce that there’s a new creature joining my collection this Halloween 2023! (Can you guess what it is?) These stunning little guys are handmade from recycled sterling silver just like every animal in my collection, and will be available as Cufflinks, Necklaces and Pins.

Make sure to sign up to my newsletter for an exclusive 20% discount code, which will sent to all my subscribers next Sunday 8th October. Don’t miss a trick this Halloween – treat yourself to a bat, a cat, a bird, or a bear… a whale or a goose, or a rabbit or a hare.
(Other animals also available at a special discounted price)

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Read on to delve deeper into the realm of these remarkable creatures, unveiling eight uncommon facts that will further illuminate the secrets of bats. From well-known myths to their natural skills, these facts will challenge your knowledge and deepen your appreciation for nature’s original aviators.

1. As blind as a bat?

In popular culture and folklore, bats have been portrayed as creatures that fumble through the night, guided solely by their acute sense of hearing and their remarkable ability to echolocate—a sophisticated system of emitting high-pitched sounds and interpreting the returning echoes. While this extraordinary echolocation skill is indeed one of their defining features, it is far from the full story of their sensory prowess.

The notion of bats as blind could not be further from reality. In fact, they possess functional eyes, and their vision varies from species to species. In the dimly lit world they call home, bats rely on a combination of visual and auditory cues to navigate, forage for food, and interact with their surroundings. Some bat species, particularly those that are crepuscular or active during dawn and dusk, exhibit excellent night vision, allowing them to discern shapes and objects in low light conditions.

2. Bats can prefer flying to the left, or flying to the right

Ever noticed how some people always use their right hand to write, while others go left? Bats, those mysterious creatures of the night, have their own version of this. Instead of favouring one wing to fly (which would be quite wobbly!), bats display certain habits that hint they might prefer one side over the other for some actions.

For instance, while zipping through the night, some bats might like to circle in a particular direction or choose one side over the other when doing specific things. It’s like each bat has its own unique style of doing things in the air.

Research, like studies by Safi & Dechmann (2005) and Yovel et al. (2010), has delved into the concept of lateralization in bats and their preferences in different environments. Like humans, bats also have their own special ways of doing things, reminding us that even in the shadowy realm of the night, individuality shines through.

3. Vampire bats don’t suck blood like in movies

While films often cast vampire bats as menacing bloodsuckers, the reality is far less theatrical. Rather than engaging in dramatic blood-drinking spectacles, vampire bats exhibit fascinating feeding and social behaviours. They feed by making tiny, painless pricks, then gently lapping up the blood.

Vampire bats are incredibly altruistic, consistently looking after others in their colony. If a bat is unable to feed, others often bring back food, sharing within the community. This spirit of cooperation is a striking contrast to their menacing Hollywood image. By understanding their true behaviours, we can appreciate vampire bats as intricate parts of the natural world, not just the stuff of movie myths.

4. Bats are masters of epic journeys and enormous migrations

Bats, the nocturnal marvels of the sky, aren’t just confined to one corner of the world. Many species of bats embark on astonishing long-distance migrations that span thousands of miles, turning their nightly flights into epic journeys. These migrations are both a testament to their endurance and an enigma of nature.

Take, for instance, the hoary bat, which can travel jaw-dropping distances from its summer roosts in North America to its winter hibernation sites in Central America. And then there’s the jaw-dropping spectacle of the Eidolon helvum, the straw-coloured fruit bats. Representing the largest mammal migration on earth, an astounding 10,000,000 of these bats converge annually in Kasanka, Zambia.

These aerial adventurers face numerous challenges during their migrations, from navigating treacherous weather patterns to finding suitable roosting and feeding sites along the way. The phenomenon of long-distance bat migrations reminds us that even the seemingly small and elusive creatures of the night play a vital role in the grand tapestry of the natural world.

5. Bats are exclusively the only flying mammals

Bats stand out as a biological marvel among mammals, being the sole members of their class capable of sustained, true flight. This remarkable adaptation has given them the title of ‘the only flying mammals’ in the animal kingdom. A bat’s wing resembles a modified human hand — imagine the skin between your fingers larger, thinner and stretched. This flexible membrane extends between each long finger bone allowing bats to gracefully take to the skies, performing astonishing aerial manoeuvres and explore environments inaccessible to other mammals.

This unique ability to navigate the air has not only shaped their evolutionary path but has also earned them a well-deserved place in the annals of natural history as extraordinary creatures with the power of flight.

6. Bats are unsung heroes of pest control

Bats are the unsung heroes of pest control in the natural world. Their insatiable appetite for insects makes them an important factor in farming, saving farmers across the world from spending money as well as from using inorganic pesticides. On a nightly basis, bats can consume an astonishing number of insects, with some individuals devouring their own body weight in pests. This voracious insect predation helps to keep insect populations in check, preventing outbreaks of crop-damaging insects and reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

In this way, bats contribute significantly to the health of ecosystems and play a crucial role in sustainable agriculture, making them a vital ally in the ongoing battle against agricultural pests and the promotion of ecological balance.

7. Bats are a symbol of fortune and prosperity

Bats hold a diverse array of cultural significances across the globe, reflecting the rich tapestry of human beliefs and traditions. In some cultures, bats are symbols of good luck, longevity, and happiness. For example, in Chinese folklore, the bat’s name, ‘fú’, sounds like the word for good fortune, making it a cherished symbol of prosperity.

In Native American traditions, bats are revered as symbols of transformation and rebirth, often seen as guides in the spirit world. Conversely, in Western cultures, bats have sometimes been associated with superstition and fear, particularly due to their nocturnal habits and association with vampires in literature and film.

8. Bats are essential for pollination

Bats play a vital role in pollination, an ecosystem service that is often overshadowed by the more well-known pollinators like bees and butterflies. Many bat species are nectar-feeders and are highly adapted for pollination. As they feed on the nectar of flowers, their bodies come into contact with pollen, which they transfer from one flower to another as they forage. This process facilitates the reproduction of various plants, including economically important ones like agave, bananas, mangoes, and many types of cacti.

Bats are particularly crucial in tropical and desert ecosystems where other pollinators are scarce, making them irreplaceable contributors to plant diversity and the production of fruits, seeds, and other essential resources for both wildlife and humans.

Get involved and support our fantastic flying friends!

Learn how to support night time wildlife by getting involved with The NightWatch Project, there’s lots of free resources on what you can do to help!

Discover more by visiting: www.surveys.bats.org.uk or connect with them on Instagram for regular updates!

Get your own bat, this Halloween!

As the haunting whispers of Halloween draw near, I’m thrilled to unveil the latest addition to our cherished jewellery collection – my new bat embodies the eerie essence of this spine-tingling season. With wings gracefully outstretched and every intricate detail meticulously hand-crafted, my bat-inspired jewellery will be available in a range of bewitching pieces, including cufflinks, necklaces and pins.

Whether you choose to adorn your lapel with a haunting bat pin or grace your ears with nocturnal elegance, these pieces will undoubtedly elevate your Halloween ensemble. Embrace the mysterious allure of the night and don my bat-themed jewellery to become part of the enchanting darkness that this time of year brings.

Cast a spell of style and sophistication this Halloween with my spellbinding bat collection.

Make sure to sign up to my newsletter for an exclusive 20% discount code, which will sent to all of my subscribers next Sunday 8th October. Don’t miss a trick, treat yourself to one of my ethical, earth-friendly pieces of jewellery, all at a special discounted price.

Sign up to my Newsletter (no spam, I promise!)

Visit me at Lustre 2023 show in November

Find Elouise Makes at Lustre 2023 – a much-anticipated contemporary craft fair returning this autumn with 50 of today’s top designer-makers and craft artists from around the country.

All exhibitors are hand-picked to give you the best in covetable, collectable craft, showcasing jewellery, textiles, ceramics, glass, leather, wood and much, much more.

Get a head start on your Christmas shopping. Buy or commission unique gifts direct from the makers – and talk to them about their work and making process. If you love handmade, beautiful things, then visiting Lustre is a must.

Check out the Lustre 2023 events page here – hope to see you there!

Read More: Lustre 2023

Thanks for reading…

Here’s a few things you might like to check out:

My ethical policy—This tells you everything you need to know about how I make my jewellery, my packaging, what makes me different in the jewellery industry and my overall ethos

About me—Hi! It’s nice to meet you. Find out about me, Rosie, and how and why I started Elouise Makes

Shop the collection—Looking for something specific, or just want to browse? You’ll find it all here

Caring for your silver jewellery—Learn how to keep your animal friends looking their best

My shipping policy—OK, this isn’t exactly the most exciting reading material, but if you order from me you need to feel secure that your piece will make its way to you safely!

Find me on Instagram—Follow me on Insta for lush pictures of my recycled silver animal jewellery, and fun tidbits about the creatures I create

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