Getting to know bats
Often associated with vampires and caves, bats have a rather bad reputation. Get to know these discreet animals that don't drink much blood!
What is a bat ?
Bats are the only flying mammals. Their scientific name, "Chiroptera", reflects this ability to fly thanks to a strong modification of the front limbs: it comes from "chiro" the hand and "ptere" the wing. There are 1100 species of bats in the world, including 34 in mainland France. The European species are all insectivorous and live at night or at least in the evening. In the tropics, there are some frugivorous species that are diurnal and also some species that feed on flower nectar. The latter even participate in pollination!
Their place in the classification
Bats have hair and mammary glands that allow females to suckle their young, so they are mammals like the cat, the human and the blue whale. They are the only flying mammals, their flight being made possible by a flexible membrane stretched between the fingers, the patagium.