Bats are amazing creatures. The only mammals capable of sustained flight, bats wings are formed from skin stretched over long, thin fingers.
There are nine species of bats in Michigan that feed on a variety of moths, flies, beetles and other insects. Under normal conditions they can capture 600 to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects per hour. Our bats range from 3 to 5-1/2 inches in length from head to tail and weigh only 0.1-1.2 ounces.
They forage at night and use echolocation to find and capture prey. They emit pulses of high-frequency sound that bounces off nearby objects. The bats then use the echoes to navigate in total darkness and find food.
For most bat species, males live separately from females as they raise their young in the summer. They come together again in early fall when courtship and mating are initiated. After mating the bats look for optimal place to hibernate. They like a constant temperature, around 45 degrees, and high relative humidity. This could mean caves, mine tunnels, and occasionally in hollow trees or attics.
Hibernation is an adaptation for survival during the winter months, when there are no insects available for bats to eat. Bats will hibernate generally from November to April or until the frost line is gone and there are enough insects to feed the bats. Many Michigan bats will migrate south from September to the beginning of October to find a suitable place to hibernate.
In the spring, males and females form small groups and look for nursing sites. Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, MI has bat houses for both nursing mommas and the bachelor boys. Most young are born from late May through early July, and are usually capable of flight within 21 days. Young bats typically reach adult size by late summer.
The Organization for Bat Conservation is dedicated to teaching people about bats and conserving bat populations and habitat. To learn more about these fascinating and beneficial members of Michigan’s wildlife community, visit their Web site at www.batconservation.org.
· What Bats Live in Michigan? http://bit.ly/sQFMtq
· Where do you hang a bat house? http://bit.ly/rRivKw
· Are there Nectar Feeding Bats in Michigan? http://bit.ly/vYPpZ1
· Do Birds have Thumbs like Bats? http://bit.ly/tjpL2T