While bats are small-bodied mammals like rodents, that is where the similarity ends. In every other regard, from diet to reproduction, bats are in a league of their own. Bats live longer and have far fewer babies than rodents.

Bats are more closely related to carnivores, hoofed animals and whales than they are to rodents. While rodents are more closely related to humans than they are to bats!

Bats, carnivores and hoofed animals (green) are less closely related to the primates and rodents (blue).   Figure from:  Impacts of the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution and KPg Extinction on Mammal Diversification  2011.  Science  Vol. 334 pp. 521-524

Bats, carnivores and hoofed animals (green) are less closely related to the primates and rodents (blue).

Figure from: Impacts of the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution and KPg Extinction on Mammal Diversification 2011. Science Vol. 334 pp. 521-524


1/5 of all mammal species are bats

There are ~1300 species of bats

Chiroptera

The bones in a bats wings are the same as those that make up our hands. In fact, bats belong to the order Chiroptera, which is latin for “hand wing”.

Bats literally fly with the power of jazz hands!


Blood Sucking Fiends?

While some bats are indeed vampires, most are not. Only three species of bat drink blood and they are all found in South and Central America.


Do all bats carry rabies?

Nope. The vast majority of bats do not have rabies, but like all mammals they are susceptible to the virus. Hawaii is the only rabies free state in the USA.

Blind as a Bat?

While bats primarily use echolocation to avoid obstacles and hunt, they also have excellent eyesight.