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About Bats

The Chiroptera are a group of mammals that has been less studiedin our country compared to other vertebrate groups.These mammals represent a great scientific interestbecause of the perfect adaptation to flight,by their interesting biology, especially by their

function in combating insects damage of cropsand the production of guano.

In French literature, bat is mentioned as early as the twelfthcentury, giving it the name "CHAUVEAU-Souris,"which means "bald mouse". In classicalGreek-Roman mythology, Eriniile (or The Dire Sisters) wereendowed with vengefulbats wings, which in Latin are called vespertiliones. If for Victor Hugo bats personifyatheism and for Durerit was the emblem of melancholy, for Leonardo da Vinci– who was not too superstitious, the batwas the model for his flying machine.He drew the legend of Icarus, giving him withwings of Chiroptera.

More often were created positive mythsabout bats andhuman life. InAmerican indigenous cultures bat is a symbol of immortalityand rebirth, because it inhabits caves, which are considered to ensure the transition to the afterlife. The Asian attitude tobat is completely different from the Europeans.The Chinese have made ​​the bat a symbol of happiness, as the appearance of it flying at twilight timecoincides with the time of family reunion after aday of work. Therefore, it is consideredof auspiciousness.

In art and literature it is oftenthe symbol of Chinese Wu-Fu originating fromancient Chinese. And the symbol used to indicate the bat is the same symbol Fu,which means good luck. Wu means five, which in turn refers to the five basic elements - earth, fire, air, water, metal. Five is also the number of elements that shape the idea of happiness - health, wealth, long life, luck, peace. The stylized Bats paintedin red, symbolize joy and prosperity.
Similarly, in the Caribbean and in Jamaica, local people believe that bats bring good luck. Usingthis new old faithin Cuba, The Bacardicompany (which produces the finest rum) usedfor 140 years a bat as emblem.

According to the "Popol Vuh", theancient Mayan belief,vampire bat wasseen as a universal symbol of fertility.

Our people created a beautiful legend about a king's son ofa witch cursed toturn into a mouse. Scared by his new appearance, the prince was hidden in the church. There, as he was hungry, he ate wafer. As he was climbing the tower,at twilight time, the bells began to beat and he got scared by the noise. But he did not die as he was endowed with wingsand could fly.
No mouse orbird, the bat longoscillated between these two natures. Sincethe Antiquity, bats were included by Aristotle in the class of mammals, in his "Natural Studies".

The Chiroptera are the only mammals capableof executing a long and sustained flight. These animals, with their curious appearance,are nocturnal creatures and are active at twilight. If other mammals canbetray their presence by their galleries, bunks or by the nests they build, the chiroptera remain well hidden, because they lack the builder behavior.
The extensive research done in biology and the data collected over the years enable us to say that the order of Chiroptera (cheiros =hand pteron =wing) contains more than 950 species.

On the Origin of Chiroptera

You cannot say much in terms of origin because of the insufficientpaleonthologicalresearch.
The most numerous fossils have been found so farin the Quercyphosphorites deposits - France, in the Europeancaves and the caves of Brazil.

Bat Diet (for the species that can be found in Romania
Given the bats very rapid intestinaltransit, information can be obtained by studying their food fresh droppingsand the guano deposits.

Today, two thirds of the faunaconsists of insects. All bats that live inRomania and Europe are insectivore. On spring,summer and autumn, they have very big appetitebecause during the hibernation period they are completely deprivedof food. Also, batsconsume a lot of energy in flight. Depending on the species, bats have different preferences for food and can eat beetles (beetles),diptych (flies, mosquitoes), Lepidoptera (butterflies), orthoptere (fen cricket, grasshoppers), araneae (spiders),hemiptere (bed bugs), Hymenoptera (wasp andants), mantidae (nuns), etc. It is very important that not all bats eatthe same types of insects, so this fact reduces competition between them and at the sametime, there do not remain groups of insectsthat could multiply in excess.

For example,the twilight bat(Nyctalus noctula) hunts insects in forests, while the common bat(Myotis myotis) andthe gray long-eared bat (Plecotul austriacus) feed with insects hiding in the foliage of treesin cities.
Young Bats (juvenile) consume insectlarvae mainly withsoft body (eg,mosquitoes).

Most bats leave the shelterto feed before nightfall.If the weather is too cold and rainy, it may be that in some series they do not come tohunt.

Flight path is sinuous, so that meet as many insects as possible. The flight times of feeding depends onthe food resources found near the shelter.

For moustached bat (Myotismystacinus) a forest area of ​​250 sqm is sufficient, while the water bat (Myotis daubentonii) needs an area of 500 sqm. Studies have shown that a colony of 20 millionindividuals of the same species consumed in one night112500 kg of insects and three months during the summer, approximately 13 500 tons of insects.

The Pollination and Dissemination of Seeds
In tropical areas bats pollinate and disseminate (through their quickly bowel) the seeds of over 300 trees and shrubs. Fewknow that the pollinationand seed disseminationof the cocoa treeis made exclusively by bats, without this the perpetuationof the tree would become impossible. Similar is the case of the baobab whoseflower lasts only during one night, during which the pollination is performed by bats.
The bats which feed only with fruit contribute to the regeneration and expansion of forests by spreading seeds fromfruits that they eat (avocados, bananas, figs, nuts, mango, guava).

The Guano Deposits
Guano is the accumulation of droppings frombats, mixed with clay. They accumulate over time in cavesinhabited by bats. Rich in phosphorus and nitrogen, it is an excellentnatural fertilizer.
In Europe guano was exploited from caves Mixnitz- Austria (over60,000 tons), Karlsbad –USA Dry Cioclovina –Romania, Sureanu Mountains (about 35,000 tons).
The large deposits of guano maintain a variety of invertebrates adapted to cave life. Their study can provide interesting paleoclimatic information. For example, deposits formed in Adam’s Cave(near Herculane -Romania), are about 8000 years old.
Guano is also involved in the genesis of mineralssuch as francoanellit, monetit, collinsit, berlinit, churchit (Onaca, 2003).

Human Nutrition
Bats are used as human food. In Timor, Africa, Indonesia, India, bats are hunted by local people, being an important source of food. In ancient writings, it isrecorded the using of bats as food by the Babylonians. On the island of Guam, bats which eat only fruits are considered delicacies.

Other Benefits of Mankind
Bats have been widely used in traditional medicine.

Since the time of Pliny (years 23- 79BC. BC) they wereused to reduce itchingof skin, stomach pain, conjunctivitis,hair removal and as an antidote for snake bites.

Leonardo da Vinci was the first to define the general principles of a flying machine, based on the symbiosis between man and bat wings. The model was constructed by one of the 400drawings of the artist and exhibited nowadays, in a museum in London.
Traian Vuia, the Romanianengineer and pilot, flew for the first time using a powered device toloosen the soil. The wings of these aircraft were inspired by the shape of a batwing.
The saliva of the vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) has hemolytic sfect, so it is used to produce the necessary drugs in patients undergoing cerebral commotions.
The ecolocation was used by some as a model for buildingdevices to give blind people guidance.