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Discover Nature: Baby Bats Begin Flying

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Josh Henderson/Wikipedia
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An Eastern red bat cradles her babies. Watch the skies as evening falls and the stars come out in Missouri. Baby bats are beginning to emerge from roosts for their first foraging flights this week.

Discover nature on a warm summer evening this week and watch the sky for Missouri’s only true flying mammals as the stars come out.

   

 

Flying and feeding, mostly at night, bats rely on keen hearing and sonar-like echolocation to find and identify prey mid-flight.  

 

Bats often get a bad rap for spreading disease, but in fact, disease incidence and transmission to humans is very rare. 

 

Bats eat insects and provide an important control on agricultural pests. They are pollinators and seed-dispersers, and they bring organic nutrients to cave ecosystems. 

 

8 of Missouri’s 14 bat species are Missouri Species of Conservation Concern – ranging from vulnerable to extirpation from our state to globally endangered to extinction. Current threats to bats include habitat loss, cave disturbance, and use of pesticides. 

 

Most mother bats give birth in late spring, to a single pup. While hanging from her feet the mother curls her tail and wings to catch her newborn and begin nursing. 

 

By mid-summer, these baby bats begin to fly.  Watch for them on their first foraging flights this week in Missouri. 

 

Learn more about Missouri’s bats with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.  

 

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Kyle Felling was born in the rugged northwest Missouri hamlet of St. Joseph (where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended). Inspired from a young age by the spirit of the early settlers who used St. Joseph as an embarkation point in their journey westward, Kyle developed the heart of an explorer and yearned to leave for adventures of his own. Perhaps as a result of attending John Glenn elementary school, young Kyle dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but was disheartened when someone told him that astronauts had to be good at math. He also considered being a tow truck driver, and like the heroes of his favorite childhood television shows (The A-Team and The Incredible Hulk) he saw himself traveling the country, helping people in trouble and getting into wacky adventures. He still harbors that dream.
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