Are Bats Mammals?
Bats suck blood; bats attack people, bats are blind, bats have rabies … so many and so more. These are a few of the numerous myths surrounding the little flying creatures. These myths are so deep rooted in culture and history that till now many people regard bats as mysterious beings. Earlier, people used to think that bats are either birds without feathers or flying mice. But with the development of science, bats are finally able to shed their dark, unworldly status. In this OneHowTo article we will answer your question: are bats mammals?
What is Mammals?
Mammals are a type of of warm blooded creatures that possess some similar characteristics. The characteristics which a creature must have to be classified as mammals are:
- They should be vertebrates. This means that the creature should have a backbone; also known as spine.
- They should be able to produce milk to feed their babies.
- They should be endothermic i.e. warm blooded. This means that their body temperature remains the same even when the temperature of their surroundings changes.
- They should have hair on their body. (Exception: Whales have hair only before birth).
- They should be able to reproduce live offspring i.e. not in the form of an egg. (Exception: Platypus and Echidnas)
Are Bats Mammals?
Bats are mammals because they possess all the characteristics of mammals. They are as follows:
- Bats have a backbone which is also known as vertebrate or spine.
- They give birth to their offspring which are called pups.
- The female bats feed their pups with their own milk.
- Bats are warm blooded.
- Bats have hair or fur on their body.
In fact, there is a type of bat that is the smallest mammal in the World!
Moreover, as per general misconception, bats feed on human blood. But in reality most bats’ diet comprises of fruits, flowers, leaves, pollen, nectar and small insects. Only one type of bats known as vampire bat feeds on blood and that too on animal blood.
Why are bats not considered as birds?
When people see bats fly they think that they are a species of birds. But it is not so. Bats are unique mammals because they are the only mammals that can fly without the aid or an airplane or parachute.
Both bats and birds fly yet bats are not considered as birds. This is due to the construction of their wings. Birds have wings consisting of light feathers. But the wings of bats constitute a piece of skin i.e. skin membrane called 'patagium' stretched between their fingers. Just like humans, bats have four fingers and a thumb.
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