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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Fish & Wildlife : Bat Program : Bat Facts and Myths

Bat Information


Big Brown Bat - Greg Stihler

Big Brown Bat. Photo by Greg Stihler, West Va Department of Natural Resources.

    Interesting Facts 

    • Bats are the only mammals that fly.
    • The name of their order, Chiroptera, means "hand-winged." Bat wings have the same bone structure as our hands.
    • All of Delaware's bats are insect eaters, catching insects as they fly. A bat can eat up to 25 percent of its weight in one meal. This would equal around 32.5 pounds of food for a 130 pound person!
    • Bats can see quite well, but hunt for food using echolocation.
    • Most bats mate in late summer or early fall.
    • Bat pups are naked, blind, and helpless when they are born. Like other mammals, they are nursed by their mothers. When they are six weeks old most are self-sufficient and nearly adult size.
    • Bats will only have one litter per year. Most will give birth to a single pup. However, Big Brown Bats may have twins and Red Bats may give birth to up to four pups.
    • Some bats overwinter in large groups in caves and mines, others overwinter singly under tree bark or leaf litter.
    • Bats are true hibernators. Throughout winter, they eat nothing, surviving by slowly burning fat accumulated during summer.
    • Delaware doesn’t have caves or mines and most of the state's summer “cave bats” migrate from other states.
    • Bats are typically faithful to birth place and hibernation location.    
    • There are more than 1,100 species of bats worldwide.
    • The smallest mammal in the world is a bat (bumblebee bat of Thailand weighs less than a penny).
    • Flying foxes (the largest bats – which aren't found in Delaware) have a wing span as large as 6 feet.
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