What is the Life Cycle of a Bat?
Bats play important roles in the ecosystem. They are known to help humans by eating insects in large quantities. They also play an important role in pollination, especially in the forests. As some species eat nectar, they also scatter the pollen to different places. This helps in the continuous growth of plants. Getting to know more about bats, you’ll realize that they are unique mammals with unique roles to play in the environment.
Bats usually mate in the late fall and summer. They will flock in large numbers just for mating. Though they mate at these seasons, females only start fertilization by springtime. During winter, some bats enter hibernation. Others migrate to other places where the season is more suitable for them to continue foraging and create a new roost.
Gestation Period and Birth
A bat’s life starts when female bats give birth to a pup. In temperate climates, most bats would give birth around May and July. Other bats living in other climates can give birth twice or more every year. The gestation period depends mainly on the species. Some can take 60 days till they complete the gestation period, while other species may take up to six months.
Baby Bats or Pups
A pregnant bat can only give birth to a single pup. At times, one can give birth to twins. Newborns weigh approximately one-third of their mothers. There are certain species that can already reach their full-size within two months.
Most of the time, mothers create their nursing roots in tree hollows, caves, abandoned buildings, and sometimes in the attics of nearby homes.
This is the part of a bat’s life cycle when young bats are left inside the cave to sleep while the mothers are foraging for food. During the first few weeks, pups will cling onto the fur of their mothers and drink milk.
Mothers create a maternity colony where they raise all their pups and keep them protected from predators. Smaller species would take around five weeks to nurse while larger ones will take up to five months.
Most pups learn to fly and seek for food once they reach 3 to 4 weeks. Once they learn how to fly, they will start spending their nights hunting for food.
Mortality Rate of Pups
Newborn bats may live depending on their nesting site. There are many that are not able to live to maturity due to accidents. Some die while they are flying. In some cases, these pups accidentally fall from their nesting sites, especially when it is located at higher areas.
Dangers and Predators
As soon as bats reach their maturity stage, the mortality rate is lower. Since they are nocturnal and their ideal nesting sites, they worry less about predators. However, accidents and diseases are some of the main causes of death. Once they are matured enough, adult bats can live to as long as 30 years. The oldest bat ever recorded was able to live up to 40 years.Bats are known as versatile creatures that can adapt to any environment. Due to their nocturnal habits, they are able to live longer as they can avoid natural predators surrounding their nesting areas. Thus, making it possible for some bats to reach impressive lifespans.
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