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Bats

There are about 1,100 bat species worldwide, which represent about twenty percent of all classified mammal species. Bats are flying mammals in the order Chiroptera. The forelimbs of bats are webbed and developed as wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums and colugos, glide rather than fly, and only for short distances. Bats do not flap their entire forelimbs, as birds do, but instead flap their spread out digits which are very long and covered with a thin membrane or patagium. Chiroptera comes from two Greek words, cheir hand and pteron wing.

About seventy percent of bats are insectivores. Most of the rest are frugivores, or fruit eaters. A few species feed from animals other than insects. Believe it not, bats can eat up to 300 hundred bugs an hour! These bugs include mosquitoes, moths, locus, grasshoppers. Such bugs can destroy crops and spread disease. One bat can eat 20 female moths a night reducing the number of crop eating caterpillars. Bats are present throughout most of the world and perform vital ecological roles such as pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plants depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds.