Bats exhibit all the characteristics of mammals: they have hair and give birth to live young who are fed on milk from mammary glands. However, bats take it to the skies as the only true flying mammals. Learn the basic biology of bats as well as their physical adaptations for survival.
Nearly 1,000 species of bats exist with 42 species in the United States and 18 of those in Arkansas. They can vary in size from just over two grams to more than two pounds. Though not found in the Americas, the flying fox bats have wingspans of up to six feet.
Bat – flying mammals of the order Chiroptera that have modified forelimbs that serve as wings and are covered with a membranous skin extending to the hind limbs
Chiroptera – order in which bats are classified
Echolocation – system used by dolphins, bats and other animals to locate objects by emitting high-pitched sounds that reflect off the object and return to the animal's ears or other sensory receptors
Hibernation – an inactive state resembling deep sleep in which certain animals living in cold climates pass the winter; body temperature is lowered and breathing and heart rates slow down; protects the animal from cold and reduces the need for food during the season when food is scarce
Mammal – any of a class of higher vertebrates, including man, that produce milk for their young, have fur or hair, are warm-blooded and, with the exception of the egg-laying monotremes, bear young alive
Migration – the regular, periodic movement of an animal population from one area to another, usually because of a change in temperature, food supply or the amount of daylight, and is often undertaken for breeding; mammals, insects, fish and birds migrate