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Bat Week is an annual, international celebration of the role of bats in nature

Bats have been on earth for more than 50 million years! With more than 1,400 species, they are the second largest order of mammals, and are widely dispersed across six continents. Globally, bats provide vital ecosystem services in the form of insect pest consumption, plant pollination, and seed dispersal, making them essential to the health of global ecosystems. Over 70% of all bat species feed on insects and as such play an important role in controlling insect numbers. No, they do not suck your blood – but they will help clear the air of bloodsucking mosquitoes!

Here are some youth activities for Bat Week.

Why do bats hang upside down?

Almost all species of bats hang upside down. When bats are relaxed, their feet are automatically in a clenched position, making it easy for them to grab on to a surface. Hanging upside down allows them to let go and quickly fall to gain momentum for flight. Unlike birds that have hollow bones, bats have solid bones like all other mammals, which is why they have more need for the extra momentum gained from falling. What is really interesting is why bat’s blood doesn’t all rush to their head while hanging upside down! There are valves in their veins AND arteries to keep blood flowing in the right direction, while most mammals only need valves in their veins.

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