Essay by C41Junior High, 9th gradeF, January 1996

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Bat Facts

1. Did you know that the worlds smallest mammal is a Bumblebee bat that lives in Thailand. It weighs less than a penny!

2. Vampire bats adopt orphan pups (the name for a baby bat) and have been known to risk their lives to share food with the less fortunate.

3. The African Heart-Nosed bat can hear the footsteps of a beetle walking on sand from a distance of over six feet!

4. The giant Flying Fox bat from Indonesia has a wing span of six feet!

5. Disk-winged bats of Latin America have adhesive disks on both feet that enable them to live in unfurling banana leaves (or even walk up a window pane).

6. Nearly 1,000 kinds of bats account for almost a quarter of all mammal species, and most are highly beneficial.

7. Worldwide, bats are the most important natural enemies of night-flying insects!

8. A single brown bat can catch over 600 mosquitoes in just one hour!

9. Tropical bats are key elements in rain forest ecosystems which rely on them to pollinate flowers and disperse seeds for countless trees and shrubs.

10. Bat droppings in caves support whole ecosystems of unique organisms, including bacteria useful in detoxifying wastes, improving detergents, and producing gasohol and antibiotics.

11. More than 50% of American bat species are in severe decline or already listed as endangered. Losses are occurring at alarming rates worldwide.

12. All mammals can contract rabies; however, even the less than half of one percent of bats that do, normally bite only in self-defense and pose little threat to people who do not handle them.

13. An anticoagulant from Vampire bat saliva may soon be used to treat human heart patients.

14. Contrary...