Bats of the World. A Golden Guide by Gary L. Graham Ph.D., Fiona A. Reid

By Gary L. Graham Ph.D., Fiona A. Reid

Летучие мыши - чрезвычайно интересные животные. К сожалению, некоторые люди излишне боятся летучих мышей. Другие не знают о той важной роли, которую выполняют летучие мыши в природе и о том, как легко некоторые их популяции могут быть уничтожены.

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By being active at night, bats can avoid competition with birds for food resources and can redu ce their exposure to predation. Samoan Flying Foxes, however, are active during the day on the Pacific islands of Samoa, where bats have no natural enemies. Many bats change the ir foraging patterns on bright moonlit nights to reduce the risk of be ing captured by owls or other predators. Female Mexican Free-tailed Bats that are nursing young typically hunt insects two times each n ight for a total of about eight hours in flight.

It may take six months or longer for large species, such as flying foxes, to be weaned. There is wide variation among bats in the timing of reproductive events. The most crucial factor seems to be that young must be weaned when food is abundant. In temperate zones this is the summer season, so bats have only one birth period per year. Tropica l bats are exposed to longer periods when food is readily available. Thus most, but not all, give birth twice a year. A few species, such as the Common Vampire Bat, consume food that is available throughout the year, and they can give birth during any season.

56 QUEENSLAND TUBE-NOSED FRUIT BAT Tube-shaped nostrils angled to the side and yellow spots on their wings, forearms, and ears distinguish this bat, which has a dark stripe down its back. The bat's short, strong jaws are well adapted for crushing fruit to obtain the juice. Its mottled coloration may help camouflage the bat as it roosts under leaves or on the trunk of a tree. Females have one young each year. The exact function of the bat's unusual nostrils remains a mystery. This bat is found only in northern Australia.

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