The incredible importance of bats

There are more than 1,400 species of flying bats. What makes these flying mammals so widespread and successful? Today we will talk about the incredible importance of bats. Without them, the world would be different.

They have a built-in sonar system to find prey. Its dexterous wings create the fastest horizontal flight of any animal on Earth. Rodrigo Medellín is an ecologist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and National Geographic. He says: “Bats are teaching us how to live better,” for example by serving as models of healthy living and longevity.

It is time to recognize the incredible importance of bats.
It is time to recognize the incredible importance of bats.

Single flight

Echolocation is a way of perceiving the environment by bouncing high-frequency sounds off objects and listening to their echoes. From these echoes, bats can calculate the distance and shape of objects. They detect objects as small as the width of a human hair.

Bats are the only mammals that use their muscles to fly through so-called self-propelled flight. This makes their flight techniques unique in the animal kingdom. Its wings can fold during flight in several ways. The fastest autonomous flight on Earth is that of the humble Mexican free-tailed bat. Reaches up to 160 kilometers per hour.

They are the longest living mammals in relation to their body size. The oldest record is at least 41 years old. Inside the cells of bats is the secret of their longevity. Unraveling it will one day help extend human lifespan. They can carry deadly viruses, such as rabies and Ebola, without getting sick. Bat genes involved in immunity and inflammation evolve in response to viruses.

His incredible abilities seem like superpowers.
His incredible abilities seem like superpowers.

Millionaire savings

Each night, any of these species can eat their body weight (or more) in insects. Many are pests that cause damage to important agricultural crops, such as cotton. This saves on pesticides. It is estimated, in the United States alone, a saving of more than 20 billion euros per year.

At least 549 plant species are pollinated or dispersed by bats. Among them are bananas, mangoes, guavas and cocoa (the main ingredient in chocolate). “They are anonymous heroes of biodiversity,” says Medellín. «They provide crucial services to guarantee our food, clothing and drink. “It is time we appreciate the incredible importance of bats.”

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