Bats are mammals belonging to the Order Chiroptera (from the Greek meaning hand-wing). The order currently contains two sub-orders, which distinguish Old World fruit bats and flying foxes with strong visual acuity from bats that navigate primarily by echolocation (the use of echoes to navigate, as well as to locate, range, and identify food and other objects).
There are over 1,000 bat species throughout the world—all of which fly. Bats have elongated fingers with skin that stretches to form "wings," and are the only true flying mammals. Other airborne mammals (such as flying squirrels) are actually gliders.
Around 70% of bats are insectivorous (insect eaters), while several species are frugivorous (fruit eaters) or nectarivorous (nectar or pollen eaters), and a few species are carnivorous (meat eaters), piscivorous (fish eaters), or saguivorous (blood eaters). Insect-eating bats can consume almost one third of their body weight in insects each night!
Among the threats to bat populations worldwide, habitat destruction, increased use of wind turbines, and white-nose syndrome top the list. Click on the link at right to learn more about white-nose syndrome.
Bats in the UFO
Bats have the adaptability to establish habitats in all kinds of places. In Colorado, abandoned mines are common sites for bat roosts. In 2008 and 2009, the BLM conducted bat surveys of twelve UFO locations, including in the Paradox Valley, Gunnison Gorge, and Dominguez-Escalante NCA. Mist netting and active and passive acoustic monitoring were employed in order to determine bat distribution across the UFO (as detailed in reports below).
Adams, R.A. 2003. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West: Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
Tuttle, Merlin. 1988. America's Neighborhood Bats. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX.