This section aims at answering common questions made by visitors of the Bat House.

1. Bats are causing me trouble. What should I do?
Some people tell me they are having problems with bats living in their attics, dropping feces on their walls, entering their homes, or attacking their cattle. Some answers may be found in the section "Problems with bats". Visit this page for guidance on bat-related problems and to learn how to live in peace with them.

2. Are bats old rats?
Bats are not rats! Both are mammals, but belong to different orders: Chiroptera and Rodentia, respectively. See "Who are bats".

3. Are bats blind?
Bats are not blind! And some of them have even collor vision. They have the same five senses as us and three extra senses!



4. Are bats poisonous?
Bats are not poisonous! The only poisonous mammal is the platypus (subclass Monotremata), which lives in Oceania. However, bats may transmit diseases to people, especially rabies and histoplasmosis. But all wild animals are potential vectors of diseases.

5. Are all bats vampires?
No! There are at least 1,116 species of bats in the world (Simmons 2005), but only three of them feed on blood (lees than 1%). Most bats (70%) have insects as their main food. In Latin America, most bats feed on plants.

6. Do bats attack people?
Vampire bats may attack people sometimes, but their favorite prey are cattle, poultry, and large game (bores, horses, tapirs, monkeys). Anyway, no vampire bat can kill a human; they just bite sleeping people to drink some blood. Their real danger is the transmission of rabies.

7. What do bats eat?
Bats are the group of mammals with the most diversified diet. They feed on insects, small vertebrates (frogs, fishes, rats, birds), fruits, seeds, leaves, nectar, pollen, and blood. Species vary from high specialization on one kind of food to an omnivorous diet.

8. How many kinds of bats are there?
There are at least 1,116 species of bats in the world (Simmons 2005). In Brazil, there are at least 174 bat species (Paglia et al. 2012).

9. Where do bats live?
Bats live in day roosts, where they sleep, form colonies and spend most of their time; and they have also night roosts, where they eat their food.

10. Why do bats sleep upside down?
Probably, most bats sleep and hang upside down, because they descend from quadruped ancestors (shrews and hedgehogs). So, during the course of their evolution, they "invested" a lot in transforming arms into wings, and legs were left behind with an ancestral quadrupede strucutre. Additionally, there was a twist in their knee joint, and now bat knees fold backwards. Therefore, it is impossible for bats to stand on their feet. Following another evolutionary path, birds descend from biped ancestors (a group of dinosaurs), so their legs were already biped-like and strong; they were kept this way.

11. To how many pups do bats give birth at the same time?
Almost all bats give birth to only one pup at a time, but some may have twins, and only a few may have up to four pups, like bats of the genus Lasiurus.

12. How long does a bat live?
Considering their small body size, bats are the most long-lived mammals. Some small species of the genus Carollia, for instance, weight 15 g but may live up to 15 years in the wild (Fleming 1988). Some species of Vespertilionidae may live over 30 years (Barclay et al. 2004). Tthe world record is held by one individual of the species Myotis brandtii, which lived for 38 years (Khiritankov & Ovodov 2001)!

13. Which is the largest bat of the world? And the smallest?
According to Nowak (1994), the largest bat of the world is the flying-fox Pteropus vampyrus, with a wingspan of 1.7 m and occuring in Asia. However, Kunz & Jones (2000) say that this species may reach only 1.5m of wingspan, and they also say that maybe individuals of the species Acerodon jubatus are larger and heavier. The smallest bat on earth, which is also the smallest mammal, is the species Craseonycteris tonglongyaii from Thailand, weighting only 1 g. In Brazil there are also some big bats, such as Vampyrum spectrum with a wingspan of 1 m, and tiny bats, such as Myotis nigricans, which weights only 4g.

14. At what speed do bats fly?
Flight speed depends on the species. Some records made by Bat Conservation International  point out that Tadarida brasiliensis may fly at speeds of 96 km/h, and is probably one of the fastest bat species.