Yee-ha partner, and saddle up, Simon's off to Texas for his biggest adventure ever!
Things get hot and sticky and a little bit gross, but it's totally worth it because you'll find out what's actually inside a real bat cave.
Hint: It's not just bats, be prepared to be surprised!
Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation
Hands down the best site ever for Bat information and his photographs are incredible!
Some wonderful bat images to make you love them more!
The How Stuff Works site is always good, and their bat information is fantastic.
Feel like coloring some bats? Try these excellent free sites.
28 Fascinating Facts about Bats
- A collection of bats is a colony, a cloud or a cauldron. (That last one is perfect for Halloween!)
- They've been around since the time of the dinosaurs.
- Their metabolism is super charged. They can digest a banana in 20 minutes, so no Fat Bats!
- There are Mega bats (big ones like fruit bats) and Micro Bats (small ones that eat insects)
- Texas is home to the world's biggest bat colony in Bracken Cave. (20 million of them!)
- There is a bridge in Austin city, and 1.5 million bats live under it. (Now it's a tourist attraction)
- When some Bats hibernate their heartbeats drop to 10 a minute and they can go for a few minutes without taking a breath.
- The heart rate of a flying bat can get to more than 1000 times a minute.
- The brown bat like to sleep for 20 hours a day, like a Koala!
- The Bumblebee bat is the smallest bat in the world. It's 30mm long and lives in Thailand.
- Bats have a special tendon in their toes that locks onto wherever they roost so they can hang using zero energy.
- Most bats can't take off from the ground, they let go from their roost and start flying.
- They have one way valves in their arteries to stop the blood rushing to their head.
- Mexican Free Tailed bats are the fastest flyer in the world at 160 KPH.
- There can be 4,000 bats in every square metre of the roof or walls in a bat cave.
- Guano beetles eat the guano turning it into a sand like consistency.
- Dermestid beetles make short work of any bat that doesn't make it. They turn it into a clean skeleton within 20 minutes. Museums use these beetles to clean their skeletons for display.
- Waste products from Dermestid beetles creates an ammonia rich atmosphere in the cave that is toxic to humans. They also bite!
- Bats are better long distance pollinators than birds or bees.
- The Austin bats eat up to 14,000 kilo's of crop destroying insects every night.
- Insect eating Micro bats save American farmers $23 billion every year by saving their crops.
- Bats are in the Chiroptera family. Chiro means hands and their hands are their wings, not their whole arm like a bird.
- Having hands for wings makes them incredibly maneuverable in the air.
- Micro bats use echolocation to catch flying bugs.
- The echolocation calls are so high in pitch, people can't hear them, but they are as loud as a rock concert!
- They can process echoes that are 2 millionths of a second apart.
- Their echolocation skills are so advanced, the navy is studying them looking for ways to improve their sonar.
- Bats change their ear shape to detect echoes 3 times faster than you can blink.
Inside Bracken Cave in Texas, check out what the researchers are wearing!
Visiting the largest bat colony on earth!
An excellent Bat documentary.
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