Atlantic Pest and Termite Management Inc
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Bats are present throughout most of the world, performing vital ecological roles of pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds. Bats are important in eating insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides. The smallest bat is the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, measuring 29–34 mm (1.14–1.34 in) in length, 15 cm (5.91 in) across the wings and 2–2.6 g (0.07–0.09 oz) in mass. It is also arguably the smallest extant species of mammal, with the Etruscan shrew being the other contender. The largest species of bat are a few species of Pteropus and the giant golden-crowned flying fox with a weight up to 1.6 kg (4 lb) and wingspan up to 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in).
Megabats eat fruit, nectar, or pollen, while most microbats eat insects; others may feed on the blood of animals, small mammals, fish, frogs, fruit, pollen, or nectar. Megabats have well-developed visual cortices and show good visual acuity, while microbats rely on echolocation for navigation and finding prey.
Most microbats are nocturnal and are active at twilight. A large portion of bats migrate hundreds of kilometres to winter hibernation dens, some pass into torpor in cold weather, rousing and feeding when warm weather allows for insects to be active. Others retreat to caves for winter and hibernate for six months. Bats rarely fly in rain, as the rain interferes with their echolocation, and they are unable to locate their food.
The social structure of bats varies, with some bats leading solitary lives and others living in caves colonized by more than a million bats. The fission-fusion social structure is seen among several species of bats. The term “fusion” refers to a large numbers of bats that congregate in one roosting area, and “fission” refers to breaking up and the mixing of subgroups, with individual bats switching roosts with others and often ending up in different trees and with different roostmates.
Studies also show bats make all kinds of sounds to communicate with others. Scientists in the field have listened to bats and have been able to identify some sounds with some behaviour bats will make after the sounds are made.