Tennessee Wildlife

Bat Facts

There are more than 1,200 species of bats worldwide – making up one-fifth of the world’s mammal population.

There are only three species of "vampire bats" – bats that live off the blood of animals. None of those species lives in the United States.

Bats can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour, and often consume half their body weight in insects every night.

Bats' consumption of insects is highly beneficial to agriculture. Experts estimate that the annual value of bats to Tennessee agriculture is $313 million. Nationally, the value of bats to America's farmers is $3.7 billion annually.

Sixteen species of bats inhabit Tennessee. All of them are insect eaters. Visit the Tennessee Bat Working Group site to learn about all 16 bat species.

Forty different species of bats live in the United States.

Bats are not blind. They actually have very good eyesight, but also make use of echolocation, a special sonar system that allows them to perceive objects at night.

Bats can live to be more than 30 years old.

The world’s smallest bat is the Bumble Bee Bat of Thailand, which is smaller than a thumbnail and weighs less than a penny.

The world’s largest bat is the Flying Fox, which lives on islands in the South Pacific. It has a wingspan of up six feet.

Some bats migrate south for the winter, while others hibernate through the cold winter months. During hibernation, bats can survive in freezing temperatures, even after being encased in ice.

Bat colonies can contain millions of bats, with young pups clustering in groups of up to 500 per square foot.

Most bats have only one pup a year, making them extremely vulnerable to extinction.

Bat mothers can find their babies among thousands or millions of other bats by their unique voices and scents.


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