- Name: Bat
- Order: Chiroptera
- Suborders: 4
- Families: 18
- Total Living Species: 1,200
- Distribution: Worldwide (except Antartica and the Artic)
- Length: Between 1.14 and 67 inches (varies by species)
21 Bat Facts for Kids
- Bats are mammals that can fly and are members of the Chiroptera order.
- The oldest fossils of bats are over 50 million years old.
- There are more than 1,300 species of bats found across the globe.
- Bats are the second largest order of mammals and make up 20% of all described mammal species.
- Bats can be found in virtually every habitat worldwide, except for Antarctica, the Artic and a few remote islands.
- Most bat species are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are active at night.
- Bats are the only mammals that can sustain continuous flight.
- Some species of bats can have a lifespan greater than 30 years.
- Bats have the longest lifespan compared to other mammals similar in size.
- The bat species with the shortest wingspan is the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai), with a wingspan between 1.1 and 1.3 inches.
- The bat species with the longest wingspan is the giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus), with an average wingspan of 5.6 feet.
- Bats are divided into two separate groups, microbats and megabats.
- The majority of the known bat species are microbats.
- Microbats are carnivores, while megabats are usually herbivores, but some megabat species are considered omnivores.
- An example of a microbat is the spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum).
- An example of a megabat is the Halmahera blossom bat (Syconycteris carolinae).
- Vampire bats are species of microbats that feed on the blood of mammals.
- There are only three species of bats that are considered vampire bats and use blood as their sole source of food.
- The three species of vampire bats are the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), the hairy-legged vampire bat (Diphylla ecaudata), and the white-winged vampire bat (Diaemus youngi).
- Bat droppings (poop) are known as guano.
- Bracken Cave, located in Texas, has the largest population of bats in the world. The bat population can reach up to 20 million individuals in the summer.
A picture of a common vampire bat head.
Credit: Michael & Patricia Fogden/Corbis
A close-up picture of a rodrigues fruit bat.
Credit: Philadelphia Zoo
A photo of Egyptian fruit bats in a cave.
Credit: Jonathan Towner
Additional Resources with Bat Facts
- Learn About Bats – Discover more about bats and what they are on the National Geographic website.
- Bats: Fuzzy Flying Mammals – Find more bat facts and information about these flying mammals on the Live Science website.
- Bats – Explore the San Diego Zoo website to learn more about bats.