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Bats are the second most diverse group of mammals, with about 925 species. They are found throughout the world except the polar regions and some isolated islands.

Bats are the only mammals that are capable of true flight. Their wings are modified forelimbs, with skin stretched between the fingers, between the arm and body, and between the legs and tail. There are two major groups of bats, megabats and microbats. Megabats are often called flying foxes, they are found only in Australia, southern Asia, and Africa. They eat fruit and nectar and most cannot echolocate (a few species have a primitive form of echolocation). Microbats are by far the most numerous of bats and the most widespread. All microbats use echolocation to navigate and find food.

Bats live in many different ways and are specialized to eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, nectar, insects, frogs, fish, small mammals, and blood. Some bats live in colonies that number in the millions of animals and some live on their own.

Bats live in a wide variety of habitats, from tropical forests and deserts to cold, temperate forests.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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. "Chiroptera" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 26, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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