Science Alive at home – going batty!

Bats are extraordinary mammals, and Science Alive has been teaching all about them in its Science Snippets in The Library outreach programme. Read on to find out all about the super powers of bats, some interesting factoids and how you can make your very own bat wings…

Where bats are found

Bats live all over the world except the continent of Antarctica. Where winters are cold, bats have two choices: One choice is to find a safe place to hibernate or sleep through the winter. Another choice is to migrate or fly to a cave.

Where bats live

Bats like to live in dark places like caves, holes in trees and even buildings. Bats are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are active at night. Many bats find trees to be the perfect place to roost and spend time taking care of their bat babies.  They can find a way into some houses and live in attics. They might also find a home in a barn on a farm.

What do bats eat?

Fruit bats – as their name suggests – eat ripe fruit.  They are the biggest bats and they live in rainforests.  Some bats eat nectar from flowers.  Some bats eat fish, which they catch with their claws.  Others eat frogs and other small animals.  Vampire bats lick blood from animals such as birds and cattle.  But most bats eat insects.  The little brown bat can eat more than one thousand insects an hour!

How bats help us

Bats keep the insect population down and help control pests that eat farm crops.  This means that farmers do not have to use a lot of pesticides on fruit. Also, bats drop seeds and spread pollen and this helps more fruit and trees to grow.

 Factoids

1)    Did you know that bats are the only mammal to use “true flight” rather than just gliding?

2)    Did you know that not all bats have poor eyesight; the fruit bat has big eyes that work perfectly for spotting food!

3)    Echolocation is another very clever skill of the bat – by using their ears, they listen to sound bounce off objects, their prey and their environment to see at night (they’re nocturnal so they like to sleep in the day and stay up all night).

Make your own bat-wing headpiece

If you’ve got some scissors, felts, sellotape, a piece of A3 cardboard and time for a little craft, then you’ve got your own personal batwings.

To download the template, visit www.sciencealive.co.nz/sites/default/files/template_0.pdf

If you need a bit of extra help, visit the video tutorial.

Science Alive are exclusively providing at-home science experiments to Family Times. For more info, visit www.ScienceAlive.co.nz.

– See more at: http://www.familytimes.co.nz/articles/science-alive-at-home-going-batty/#sthash.NkhbTe3t.dpuf