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Bat Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Bats are not just creatures that are popular at Halloween! In this lesson, learn about the physical adaptations that allow bats to survive and thrive in the wild, like their long fingers and webbing.

Beyond Halloween

Around October of each year, things start to get a little spooky. One of the most popular Halloween animals is the bat, and many people think they are extremely scary! You might be a little freaked out by these animals, which people have called flying foxes or flying mice. However, these little furry winged creatures are actually pretty cool. They help cut down on pesky insects like flies and mosquitos, and they can do this thanks to some amazing adaptations.

Nocturnal Animals

Bats are mostly nocturnal animals. This means that they sleep during the day and are active at night. This is a beneficial adaptation for several reasons. Think about what bats are hunting for: bugs! Other animals may be looking for a tasty fly for a snack as well. Since bats are nocturnal, they do not have to compete with as many other animals for food.

Bats find cool dark places to sleep during the day and become active hunters at night.
mammal

At night, not only is there less competition for food but there are also fewer predators out as well. This is another reason that being nocturnal helps bats survive. When they hunt at night, they are less likely to actually be hunted themselves.

Echolocation

In order to catch a tiny mosquito flying in the sky, you would think bats would have amazing eyesight right? Most bats actually don't see very well, especially due to the fact that they are flying around at night. They use a special adaptation called echolocation. This is when they let out a very high pitched sound. The sound waves travel through the air, and if they come in contact with an object the sound waves bounce off and return to the bat.

Around dusk it is common to see bats swooping through the air catching bugs.
sonar

Bats are so skilled at using echolocation that they can tell if a sound wave that bounces back to them is a tree or a bug. This helps them with flying in the dark. They can avoid smacking into a tree and enjoy snacking on a bug!

Special Skeleton

Bats have very light bones, which makes them lighter when flying through the air. There is webbing that connects their long bones, which are a lot like long fingers. Not only does this webbing allow for easy flight, but it enables bats to wrap themselves up when sleeping during the day.

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