Bat Chat:
Facts About Bats (Mainly Lesser Long-nosed Bats)

  • There are nearly 1,000 species of bats world wide.
  • Lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris curasoae, or Leptos for short) are featured on Journey North's site. are found in the dry portions of the tropics of Mexico and El Salvador. During the summer , these bats are also found in the southern parts of Arizona and New Mexico. (You can make your own Lepto Range Map.)
  • Lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris curasoae, or Leptos for short) live in caves and mines in groups of 5-50, up to as many as 100,000 individuals.
  • In 1988, Leptos were listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as Endangered. Roost disturbance and possible effects of habitat loss (such as the over-harvesting of agaves in Mexico) represent the primary threats for these bats."
  • In the summer months of June and July, female Leptos aggregate in "maternity colonies." There they give birth and raise their young. Mother bats stay with their young until they are able to fly and forage on their own. We still have very little information on what the males do and where they roost. Biologists have found many more females than males in cave and mine roosts.
  • Leptos (lesser long-nosed bats) are nectivorous and frugivorous, meaning they eat nectar and fruit. While they sometimes eat insects, like most of the bats you probably know, in the spring time they feed primarily on the nectar found in flowers.
  • When bats run out of a local food source, they can either migrate to another area that has food availbale or they can hibernate if the food resource really disappears (as happens in temperate regions).
  • Of the bats that hibernate, many of them MIGRATE to the place where they hibernate. In some cases, that's hundreds of miles.
  • Lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris curasoae, or Leptos for short) are not capable of hibernating because they cannot lower their body temperature to go into the torpid state required for hibernation. (Many bats in the New World are capable of extended torpor, but lesser long-nosed bats are not among them.) Besides running our of food in the orthen part of its range (the Southwest U.S.), leptos face the hardship of lower ambient temperatures. They don't have the metabolism to be able to survive long periods of cold.
  • No bats are blind. Most can actually see quite well.
  • Bats do not become tangled in human hair. their sonar, or echo-location, abilities are far more sophisticated than human-made technologies and allow bats to navigate flawlessly in even pitch darkness.
  • Bats are no more likely to transmit disease to other animals or to humans than your pet dog. Bats are not vermin or rodents.
  • Bats are important contributors to global environmental health. A single little brown bat can catch 600 mosquitoes in just one hour. A colony of 150 big brown bats can protect local farmers from 18-million or more root-worms each summer. Tropical bats are key elements in rain forest ecosystems, which rely on them to pollinate flowers and disperse seeds for countless trees and shrubs .. . and bats are directly responsible for over 95% of all rain forest re-growth in cleared areas.
  • In the wild, important agricultural plants--from bananas, breadfruit and mangoes, to cashews, dates and figs--rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal.
  • Despite their many valuable contributions, bats are among the most relentlessly persecuted animals on the planet. More than half of American bat species are in severe decline or already listed as endangered.