Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Nature/Bats

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North American Division
See also Bats - Advanced
Skill Level 1
Year of Introduction: 2004

1. Why are bats classified as mammals and not birds?[edit | edit source]

Here are some identifiers for mammals, birds, and bats. After examining the list, it should be rather obvious how much more like mammals bats are compared to birds:


  • Fur
  • Bear live young (except platypus)
  • The babies nurse from their mother
  • They are Warm-blooded
  • Four legs often with toes and/or "hands" and "feet"


  • They have fur or hair
  • A baby bat is born alive
  • The babies nurse from their mother
  • They are Warm-blooded
  • Bats have arms, hands and feet


  • Birds have feathers, not fur or hair
  • They are hatched from eggs
  • The babies are fed from mom's mouth
  • They have wings, but not hands and fingers

2. What is the main characteristic that separates bats from all other mammals?[edit | edit source]

Bats are the only mammal that can truly fly (others species such as the flying squirrels actually glide instead of fly).

3. What is the name of the order that bats belong to and what does it mean?[edit | edit source]

Bats are in the order Chiroptera, which literally means "hand-wing" in Latin. This name makes sense because a bat's wings stretch over the forearm and fingers, and attach down at the ankle bones. The name is from the Greek, Cheir=hand; Pteron=wing. They got this name when scientists noticed that they fly with a modified hand.

4. What are the largest and smallest bats and where do they live?[edit | edit source]

  • Largest: The biggest flying mammals are the Flying Foxes, particularly those living in Asia and Australia. Several species have a length of 45 cm (17.7 in), a wingspan of 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in), and a weight of 1.6 kg (3.5 lb). The Indian Flying Fox in particular has been known to attain a wingspan of 6 feet.
  • Smallest: The world's smallest bat is the Kitti's Hog-Nosed Bat (a.k.a. The Bumblebee Bat) of Thailand. Weighing less than a penny and with a wingspan of less than 5 inches it is also the worlds smallest mammal.

5. How many different types of bats are there worldwide?[edit | edit source]

There are approximately 1000 species of bats in the world, and bats live on every continent except Antarctica. There are approximately 825 species of Micro-chiroptera worldwide, and about 175 species of Mega-chiroptera.

6. Bats are divided into two (2) suborders. What are their names?[edit | edit source]

  • a. Mega-chiroptera
  • b. Micro-chiroptera

7. Which suborder of bats uses echolocation and which suborder uses eyesight to find their food?[edit | edit source]

  • a. Megabats: Use eyesight.
  • b. Microbats: Use echolocation. (Bats send out sound waves using their mouth or nose. When the sound hits an object an echo comes back. The bat can identify an object by the sound of the echo. They can even tell the size, shape and texture of a tiny insect from its echo. Most bats use echolocation to navigate in the dark and find food.)

8. What is the diet of the Megabats?[edit | edit source]

Many megabats eat fruit, nectar, and pollen, which earns them their nickname, "fruit bats".

9. What is the diet of the Microbats?[edit | edit source]

The microbats are generally insect-eating, although they tend to have a much more varied diet than the megabats. Besides Insects, microbats eat anything from nectar and fruit like megabats, fish, small mammals and birds, and even blood.

10. How many babies does a bat have each year and what are the babies called?[edit | edit source]

Most bats have one baby per year, though some have twins or triplets. Baby bats are called pups.

11. Find three Bible texts that mention bats.[edit | edit source]

Leviticus 11:19: The stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

Deuteronomy 14:18: The stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

Isaiah 2:20: In that day men will throw away to the rodents and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship.

Which text uses bats in an end-time prophecy?[edit | edit source]

Isaiah 2:20: In that day men will throw away to the rodents and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship.

12. Do bats hibernate or migrate for the winter?[edit | edit source]

In the cold climates bats either hibernate or migrate to warmer locations. Bats living in the tropical zones stay active year round.

13. Name the parts of a bat.[edit | edit source]

Knee, tail membrane, tail, calcar, foot, wing membrane, fingers, wrist, ear, tragus, forearm, thumb.

The calcar is a bony structure connecting the leg to the tail.
The tragus is a feature bats have in common with humans, being the fleshy part of the ear above the lobe and next to the temple.

Parts of a Bat

14. How many insects can a bat eat in an hour?[edit | edit source]

600 - 1,000 insects per hour according to their body weight. A single brown bat can eat 1,200 insects per hour.

15. What are the two (2) main benefits bats provide for man?[edit | edit source]

  • a. Eat insects. A single brown bat can eat 1,200 insects per hour (3,000 - 7,000 per night). Bats eat such harmful insects as cockroaches, mosquitoes, and gnats. Large colonies of bats can consume many insects that would otherwise harm farmers' crops.
  • b. Pollinate and spread seeds. Bats serve as food plant pollinators.
  • c. Provide outlet for medical research. Their echolocation skills have been studied to help medical professionals help the blind. A chemical agent in the saliva of the common vampire bat, Draculin, is being tested for use in helping stroke victims.

16. Build or purchase a bat box, know the best place to put it and install it at a home, church, or your school. Record for 3 months what kind and how many bats have made it their home.[edit | edit source]

You can find online plans to build your own bat house here:

For best results, the roosting chamber should be at least 50 cm (20 in) wide, 70 cm (24 in) high, and about 2 cm (3/4 in) deep on the inside. It should have an open bottom and a roof. The inside should be roughened with horizontal saw cuts or lined with a plastic mesh so the bats will have something to grab on to. Do not make the bat box from pressure treated wood, but do use outdoor grade plywood or cedar. A roof will certainly help preserve the bat box, especially if covered with an asphalt shingle or with metal.

It should ideally be mounted on a building where it can more readily absorb heat, or on a pole. Mounting a bat box in a tree will ensure that no bats move in. The bat box should be mounted away from trees and utility wires where bat predators (hawks, owls, etc.) may roost. The bat box should be at least 12 feet from the ground.

References[edit | edit source]