Though bats may seem creepy, scary, and spooky, they have an essential role in our everyday lives that we may not even realize. Bats are heroes of the night for pollinating our favorite fruits, eating insects, and creating medical marvels. They have been around for a long, even since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Ancient bats looked similar to those that exist today. Bats can be found in almost every habitat type, except for deserts and polar regions. Worldwide, there are 1,100 different bat species, with 40 species in the United States alone. Bats may be small in size, but they have a large footprint, accounting for one-quarter of all mammals worldwide. This difference in size and shape is equally impressive. A bat’s size ranges from the world’s smallest mammal, Kitti’s hog-nosed Bat (also called the Bumblebee Bat), weighing less than a penny, to the six-foot-long flying fox. Some bats are solitary and spend the day in tree foliage, attics, barns, and other protected places. Other bats are colonial and live in caves and mine tunnels. Their heads hang down when they are resting.
Desert ecosystems depend on nectar-eating bats to pollinate giant cacti, including the cacti in Arizona. Bats pollinate over 300 species of fruit. They help spread seeds for nuts, figs, and cacao, which is the main ingredient in chocolate. We wouldn’t have agave or saguaro cacti without them. Bats can consume their weight in insects at night, numbering in the thousands each night! This insect-heavy diet helps foresters and farmers protect their crops from pests.
There is a decline in bat populations nearly everywhere, despite their numerous benefits, such as pollination and insect control. More than half of the American bat species are considered endangered because caves are disturbed, habitats are lost, and pesticides are misused. They have a bad reputation even though only three species of bats feed on blood, and less than 1% of bats carry the rabies virus. To further dispel our poor bat friends’ unfair reputation, we have compiled a list of photos of bats that prove bats are cute creatures too. These adorable creatures will definitely charm you!