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Monday, April 17, 2017

Bat Appreciation Day

Bat Appreciation day occurs on the 17th of April every year. With over 1000 living species they should have their own day. There are over 40 species right here in the United States. The second largest groups of mammals with the first being rodents. They make up 20% of all known mammal species. Bats range in size from the less than one ounce bumblebee bat

to the 2.6 lb. golden crowned flying fox bat.

They have diets as diverse as their size feeding on anything from insects to nectar to blood. Over 70% are insectivores. Bats are usually not at the top of most people's "favorite animal" list. Perhaps, they should be. The evolution of bats is unknown. The earliest bats come from the Green River Formation in Wyoming. The oldest bat fossil is 51 million years old.

There are possibly more bat fossils out there the problem being that the bones are so thin. Preserving the bones make the fossils rare find. Bats live for many years. Many small animals do not live as long as bigger ones. Bats are thought to be disease carriers but they are actually rarely sick their selves. Bats are rather hearty and can live up to 40 years.

Bats are the only mammal that are capable of true and sustained flight. They also groom their selves almost constantly. The largest urban bat colony is found on the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin Texas. There are an estimated 1,500,000 Mexican free tailed bats.

There are an estimated 100,000 tourists that visit the bridge annually to watch the insect eating bats leave the roost at twilight.

One colony of 150 big brown bats can protect farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.

Bats too are disappearing. With almost 40% of American bat Species in severe decline, with some listed on endangered or threatened list

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