Bat House Plans
About BatsThere are more than 1,116 species of bats world- wide with new species being discovered all over the world, about half of these bats are currently at risk. Bats range in size from the smallest mammal the bumblebee bat of Thailand weighing less than a penny to the giant flying fox from Indonesia with a wingspan up to six-feet, equivalent to a male bald eagle. In the United States we have 46 species of bats in Missouri we have 16 species. The smallest two bats in Missouri are the Tri-colored Bat and Small-footed Bat weighing 4 grams with a wingspan of 9 inches. The largest bat in Missouri is the Hoary Bat weighing 35 grams with a wingspan of 16 inches. Bats belong in the order Chiroptera, from the Greek word meaning “hand-wing”. Bats are broken down into two groups Mega-bats and Micro-bats. Micro-bats make of 90% of bats. They have small eyes and most navigate using echolocation. All bats found in Missouri are micro-bats. Mega-bats are the fruit bats and flying foxes. They have large eyes, some have a keen sense of smell, and most do not use echolocation to locate food. Bats have amazing long life spans, the Little Brown Bat found here in Missouri has been known to live up to 34 years. The longest record for a wild bat was a Brandt’s Bat that lived 41 years.
Why Bats Are ImportantBat populations in the United States and Europe are currently being decimated by a disease called "White Nose Syndrome." There is very little known about the disease, but it causes bats to wake during hibernation and go hunting for food, which is not available. They therefore die of starvation. Bats are worth approximately $53 billion to the agricultural crop industry – eating tons of agricultural pests every year. This massive decline in bats will have a significant impact on the food industry – impacting consumers where they can afford least, with rising food prices, as farmers are forced to use chemical pesticides to preserve their crops.
Meet Our Resident BatsYou can learn more about bats in general, and meet World Bird Sanctuary's two resident Straw-colored Fruit Bats, Batty & Scar by visiting our Nature Center.
Learn More About Bats:Bat Conservation International: www.batcon.org
The Organization for bat Conservation: www.batconservation.org
Year of the Bat: www.yearofthebat.org
Lubee Bat Conservancy: www.batconservancy.org
MO Department of Conservation: www.mdc.mo.gov