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Uploaded by Admin on Jun 11, 2000

There is an abundant amount of animal species in the world. They all have adapted and evolved to survive in their surroundings. Some have grown fins, others legs, and still others wings. One of the animals that has grown wings is the bat. The bat is a truly great creature. It has all the characteristics of mammals while also possessing the skill of a bird in flight.

There are more than 800 species of bats in the world. They are of many different sizes, shapes, and lifestyles. They live all over the world and have drawn the curiosity of millions. Bats also have the unique feature of echolocation that it uses to catch insects. Though other mammals, like the flying squirrel seem to fly but actually glide, the bat is the only mammal that can truly fly (Lauber 1968).

A Bat's Body
Due to the great variety of species of bats some characteristics vary greatly, but the Little Brown Bat is a good example of a common bat. It has fur on the body, large naked ears, the rear legs have claws, a tail membrane, and it has the most distinguishing feature of a bat, wings (Lauber 1968). The upper arm of the bat is short while the forearm is very long (Fig. 1). The wrist is very small and from it comes the thumb and the four longer fingers. The thumb is short and used for climbing or walking. The fingers are long and thin. Interlocking the fingers is the wing. This arrangement of having the fingers in the wing gives the bat amazing flight maneuverability (Honders 1975). These bones look similar to a human hand. They are connected by rubbery skin to the bat's body enveloping all the fingers but the thumb (Anonymous 1990).

Bats have a "sixth sense" called echolocation. This was first proved by Donald Griffin. Bats produce ultrasonic sound waves and then use the echo of the returning sound to sense the world around them and in particularly to catch insects. These sounds are usually out of the humans range of hearing (Fellman 1993). This system is similar to that of dolphins. The sound is in the form of clicks that increase as the bat gets closer to the insect or whatever it is tracking (Anonymous 1990).

Unlike humans, most insects can hear the bat's echolocation sounds. David D. Yager of the University of Maryland has...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   06/11/2000

Category:   Animals

Length:   8 pages (1,697 words)

Views:   2464

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