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Facts about Bats

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by Peter Cunningham
(Originally published in Gazelle December 2000)

Did you know:

  • Nearly 1000 kinds of bats account for almost a quarter of all mammal species and most are highly beneficial.
  • A single bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes in just 1 hour.
  • Agricultural plants such as bananas, mangoes, dates and certain figs rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal.
  • Bat droppings in caves support whole ecosystems of unique organisms.
  • Contrary to popular belief, bats are not blind, do not become entangled in human hair, bite only in self-defence, and seldom transmit disease to other animals.
  • Bats are exceptionally vulnerable to extinction, in part because they are the slowest reproducing mammals on earth for their size with most producing only one young per year.
  • Only one species of "vampire bat" occurs in south and Central America and does not suck blood, but makes an incision and then laps up the blood.
  • Very little scientific work has been conducted on bats from the UAE with only 8 species ever recorded although it is suspected that many more may occur.

I am busy doing some work on bat distribution in the UAE and would appreciate information regarding the following:

  • Bat roosts (i.e. caves/crevasses/ceilings, etc.)
  • Bat gatherings (i.e. frequently used feeding areas or where seen often)
  • Bat records (i.e. 16 Mouse-tailed Bats seen roosting at Abool Fort on 15 March 1999, etc.)

Any information regarding bats from the UAE and neighbouring Oman areas could be useful. Any dead specimens and skulls, etc. could also be used for identification purposes.

If you have any information regarding bats to contribute, please forward the information to a Committee member.


Patron: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan