July 21, 2015 Slideshows » News

10 Loco Facts About The Mexican Free-tailed Bat 

Share on Facebook
Tweet
Submit to Reddit
Email
OF 11
PREV NEXT

Bat Loco

Learn about these amazing critters while watching San Antonio's very own colony of Mexican Free-tailed Bats emerge from under Camden Street bridge at 7:30 pm at the intersection of Camden and Newell streets. The bats roost under Interstate 35, you can bring a chair there during the summer months and hear a talk about the bats.

The San Antonio River Authority partners with Texas Parks and Wildlife and Bat Conservation International for an educational presentation every Tuesday until August 11.

For more info, you can contact Kayla Gasker at (210) 302-3259 or [email protected]

Bats, the "rats with wings"

Although some may call them "rats with wings," bats are actually more closely related to primates than rodents. Bats are mammals. They are warm-blooded, have hair, bear live young and feed their babies milk.

[Source]

Bats don't really hunt humans.

The largest bat, the flying fox bat, can grow to the size of a Chihuahua with a 6-foot wingspan. Oh, don't worry, it eats fruit. The smallest bat is the bumblebee bat, which weighs less than a penny. The Mexican free-tailed bat, the San Antonio resident, is only about the size of two thumbs put together.

[Source]

Mexican Free-Tails provide free pesticide services.

The millions of Mexican free-tailed bats at Bracken Bat Cave eat up to 200 tons of insects nightly. This can save farmers from using large amounts of pesticides.

Mexican free-tail guano is incredibly useful in the production of environmentally-friendly fertilizers and insecticides.

[Source]

Most species produce one pup a year.

Bats actually have very low reproductive rates. However, one pup a year is an amazing feat in itself since baby bats weigh one-third of their mother’s body weight. To put that into perspective, just imagine birthing a 40-pound human infant.

[Source]

Bats are pretty good moms.

Baby bats roost together in impossibly tight clusters of up to 500 pups per square foot. Although every pup is nearly identical, mama bats can can locate their babies by keying in on their unique cries and scents.

[Source]

Bats pollinate like a bee.

Just like bees or butterflies, bats play a crucial role in preserving the local environment. Many plants, including those that produce bananas, mangoes, avocados, cashews, dates, figs and agave, rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal.

[Source]

As it turns out, being “blind as a bat” isn’t exactly true.

Bats can actually see fine. They navigate at night using a unique type of sonar technique called echolocation. As they fly, Mexican free-tails emit a number of differing “calls” at frequencies between 25 and 75 kHz. The sound waves bounce off of nearby objects, namely bugs and obstacles, and travel back to the bats, providing them with the information that they need to be masterful hunters and navigators in the dead of night.

[Source]

Guano, the miracle poop.

Confederate soldiers fighting in the Civil War harvested guano to produce saltpeter, the key ingredient in gun powder, after their ports were blockaded.

Bat guano is also an important indicator to scientists working to measure pollution and the effects of climate change. It helps microbiologists by giving them bacteria and enzymes that help produce things like detergent and antibiotic drugs. Guano is even used to convert industrial waste and its byproducts into safer materials.

[Source]

Mexican free-tailed bats are perfect, flying predators.

Their streamlined, webbed bodies make them amazing athletes, allowing them to reach impressive flight speeds and distances, and fly higher than any other bat species on record. Mexican free-tails often ascend two miles to snack on bugs or to catch tailwinds.

They’ve been clocked flying at over 60 miles per hour. Moreover, Texas Parks and Wildlife reports that free-tailed bats travel as much as 100 miles in a single evening hunting for prey.

[Source]

Skip ad in

Bats acted as U.S. Soldiers.

During World War II, Mexican free-tailed bats were the subject of a top-secret research program called “Project X-Ray” that aimed to destroy Japanese military capabilities without the use of a single, massive device. The goal of Project X-Ray was to use bats as carriers of tiny little incendiary devices that could be triggered simultaneously, creating seemingly spontaneous fires over a wide area.

These “bat bombardiers” were actually on the brink of going operational, but when escaped bats set fire to a friendly barracks and blew up a general’s car during the final testing phase, Project X-Ray was canceled and the nuclear bomb took center stage.

[Source]

1/11

Bat Loco

Learn about these amazing critters while watching San Antonio's very own colony of Mexican Free-tailed Bats emerge from under Camden Street bridge at 7:30 pm at the intersection of Camden and Newell streets. The bats roost under Interstate 35, you can bring a chair there during the summer months and hear a talk about the bats.

The San Antonio River Authority partners with Texas Parks and Wildlife and Bat Conservation International for an educational presentation every Tuesday until August 11.

For more info, you can contact Kayla Gasker at (210) 302-3259 or [email protected]

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar