Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bumble Bee Bats

The smallest mammal in the world.
         I like bats. They're fascinating in appearance and ability. Watching them while camping is always a great show, and while I've yet to have bats in my belfry, I have had one in the woodstove. 

 This tiny bat weighs less than 2 grams. Its body is about the size of a large bumblebee, hence the common name “bumblebee bat”. 

  Prior to 1974, Kitti's hog-nosed bat was unknown to the world at large. This name refers to it's discoverer, Thai zoologist Kitti Thonglongya. After Thonglongya died suddenly in February 1974, his British partner, John Hill described the species, giving it the name in honor of his colleague

    Since that time this tiny mammal has been hunted and harassed by collectors and tourists wanting to see the world’s smallest mammal. Today the main threats are from burning of the forested areas near the limestone caves in which it lives. 

  Its relatively wide wings are darker in color, and have long tips which enable the bat to hover like a hummingbird.It is thought to have last shared a common ancestor with other species around 43 million years ago. 

Bumble Bee bats roost at the back of caves or remote caverns. Group size varies from as few as 10 individuals to as many as 500, although most caves contain around 100 bats. The bats spread out across the ceiling of the caves so that they do not
come into contact with one another. At dawn and dusk they leave their caves for around 20-30 minutes to forage for food. The bats primarily use echolocation to hunt small insects on the wing, although they may also glean small spiders and beetles from plant leaves.
 They do not make good pets, so don't even go there. And, the species is protected under the Wild Animals Reservation and Protection Act (WARPA) in Thailand. 

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