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-BATS ARE NOT BLIND - Most bats have good eyesight and can even "see " very well, at night with their very sophisticated echolocation (a kind of bio-sonar).

-BATS DON'T GET TANGLED IN PEOPLE'S HAIR- Because they can "see" with remarkable accuracy with the use of their echolocation system, bats can detect things as fine as a human hair and even a small single mosquito and can easily avoid blundering into people's hair.

-BATS ARE NOT RODENTS- Bats belong to a mammalian order all their own, the Chiroptera, which means "hand-wing" and are the only group of mammals which have the ability of true, sustained flight.

-BATS ARE NOT DIRTY AND ALL DO NOT CARRY RABIES- Bats are actually very clean animals, they keep themselves meticulously clean by grooming themselves and each other. A person is much more likely to contract the rabies virus from an infected stray dog or cat. Public Health records have shown that only a very small percentage of all bats may be rabid (less than 1/2 of 1%) There is a higher incidence of rabies in other kinds of wild mammals like skunks, foxes and raccoons.

-NOT ALL BATS ARE VAMPIRES- In actuality there are only three species of vampire bats that live primarily in Mexico, Central and South America. The vast majority of bats are insectivorous and nectar/pollen or fruit eaters and they are very beneficial to the habitats where they live as well as to people.

-THE SMALLEST MAMMAL IN THE WORLD -is the bumblebee bat from Thailand. It weighs less than a penny.

-Some bats are known to have lived for at least 32 years!

-There are even Fishing Bats. These bats live primarily in Central and South America and "fish" by dragging their elongated claws through the water to snag small fish while on the wing. Their echolocation is so acute that they can detect an object as fine as a human hair a couple of millimeters above the water's surface.

-Almost 25% of all mammal species are bats.

-Wild stocks of a number of agricultural plants like dates, bananas, mangoes, figs and cashews depend upon bats for either pollination or seed dispersal.

-Most bats are insect feeders and consume vast numbers of insects nightly. A single little brown bat can eat at least 600 mosquitoes in an hour and a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats in central Texas can consume 250 tons of insects in one night. Many bats feed almost exclusively on night flying moths, many of which are major agricultural pests. The Lesser long-nosed and the Mexican long-tongued bats, which are nectar feeders, are the principle pollinators of Agaves and Saguaro and Organ-pipe cactus.

Bats are among the most beneficial, gentle and fascinating groups of animals on earth, once you get to know them!


The Chiricahua mountains in southeast Arizona probably has the largest diversity of bat species in the United States. There have been 24 species of bats found in the Chiricahuas from 3 families. Almost all the bats that are found in the Chiricahuas are insect feeders, two species are nectar and pollen feeders and have even learned to take advantage of hummingbird feeders in peoples yards. Most of the bats found in the Chiricahuas mate in the fall and the females give birth, usually to one pup per year, starting in early summer. The Desert Red Bat can give birth to twins or sometimes even four pups. In many species the females form maternity colonies of several individuals to numbers in the millions to give birth and nurture their young. Bats use a variety of places to roost during the day. These can be rock crevices, caves, old mines, old buildings, attics, even using old woodpecker holes and cavities in trees which was recently discovered as roost sites for our Southwestern Myotis female bats and their young. Many species will take up residence in artificial roosts, most commonly in bat houses that people have put up to attract bats to their yards. Our bats are found in a wide diversity of habitats including desert grassland and foothills, riparian areas of canyon bottoms, to conifer forests at the higher elevations. Several species of our bats are migratory and head south for the winter where they remain active all winter, some migrate relatively short distances to overwintering sites usually in caves or old mines that provide the optimum conditions for hibernation. One of our bats, the Hoary bat, was discovered a few years ago to hibernate on the side of a tree out in the open where it was very well camouflaged with the bark of the tree.




Below are links to information on the Chiricahua Bats:

Species List


Bat Houses


Bats & Rabies


Highlight Species


Other Bat Links:


Bat Conservation International



Copyright 1998-2003 Charles Rau

All images and text on these pages are under the copyright of Charles S. Rau and CSR Nature Photography, none of the images or text may be copied, reproduced, downloaded or used without the express written permission of Charles S. Rau