The Bats people (Georgian: ბაცი) or the Batsbi (ბაცბი) are a small Nakh-speaking community in Georgia who are also known as the Ts’ova-Tush (წოვა-თუშები) after the Ts’ova Gorge in the historic Georgian province of Tusheti (known to them as "Tsovata"), where they settled after migrating from the North Caucasus in the 16th century.

The first reference to the Batsbi in European ethnographical literature is in the chapter on the Tush and Tusheti in Johannes Güldenstädt's Reisen durch Rußland und im Caucasischen Gebürge ["Travels through Russia and in the Mountains of the Caucasus"], published posthumously by Peter Simon Pallas between 1787 and 1791 , although Güldenstädt does not mention them by name, merely pointing out instead that "Kistian and Georgian are spoken equally in the 4 first-named villages [in the Ts'ova Gorge]. Their inhabitants could also more easily be descendants of the Kists than the other Tush" ("In den 4 erstgennanten Dörfern wird kistisch mit georgischen untermengt gesprochen. Die Einwohner können auch leicht mehr als die übrigen von Kisten gern abstammen.").

Most of the Batsbi currently live in the village of Zemo Alvani ("Upper Alvani") in the eastern Georgian province of Kakheti, close to the town of Akhmeta (at the mouth of the Pankisi Gorge), but their families are scattered elsewhere in Georgia. In the early nineteenth century, ollowing the destruction of two of their villages by landslides and an outbreak of the plague, the Batsbi abandoned their villages in the Ts'ova Gorge in Tusheti and migrated down to the valley of the Alazani river, where they live to this day.

A significant proportion of the village's women work in Europe and in America, sending money home to the village. Many men still work as shepherds, spending the winter with the flocks in the south-eastern Georgian region of Shiraki on the border with neighbouring Azerbaijan (close to the Vashlovani National Park and taking the sheep up to Tsovata in the summer (a three week journey).


The group should not be confused with the neighbouring Kists – also a Nakh-speaking people, migrants from Chechnya – who live in the Pankisi Gorge of Georgia.

Batsbi
ბაცბი Total population 3,000 approx. at most Regions with significant populations Tusheti (Georgia), Kakheti (Georgia) Languages Bats, Georgian

Religion Christian (Georgian Orthodox)

Related ethnic groups Other Nakh peoples: Chechens, Ingushs, and Kists
Other Georgians — specifically the Tush, Georgians of Kakheti and perhaps the Khevsurs


Language Part of the community still retain their own Bats language, "batsbur mott", which has adopted many Georgian loan-words and grammatical rules, and is mutually unintelligible with the two other Nakh languages, Chechen and Ingush. This language is unwritten and the Batsbi have used Georgian as a language of literacy and trade for centuries. Their customs and traditions now resemble those of other eastern Georgian mountaineers, particularly those of the Tush; the Batsbi have retained very little of their cultural traits (although it is probable that Batsbur customs have had a profound influence on the particularities of Eastern Georgian customs). Batsbur is not a Vainakh language (as Chechen and Ingush are) and forms a separate branch among the Nakh languages. It is the last remnant of the non-Vainakh branches of the Nakh family, all the others having gone extinct.

Almost all Bats speak Tushian Georgian as well.

Debate over Origins The origins of the Bats are mysterious, with two prevailing views.As the Estonian scholar Ants Viires points out in is Red Book, it is actually two separate disputes: the first being whether it was Nakh tribes or Old Georgians that inhabited Tusheti first, the second being from which (or both) the Bats are descended.

Descent from the Transcaucasian Nakh tribes The first is that they are descended from ancient Nakh tribes inhabiting the region. The Old Iberian name for the ancient inhabitants of Kakheti was "Kakh", but they apparently called themselves "Kabatsa" and they are thought to have been "Tushians of Nakh extraction". Jaimoukha notes that according to an 18th century Georgian historian named Vakhushti, the Kakh considered the Dzurdzuks (an old Georgian name for the Chechens), Kists (Georgian for the Ingush) and Gligvs (unknown origin, though some speculate it was another name for the Ingush as used by some authors) as their ethnic kin.

Descent from 16th century Ingush migrants The second theory has it that the Batsbi crossed the Greater Caucasus range from Ingushetia in the seventeenth century and eventually settled in Tusheti , and that they are therefore a tribe of Ingush origin which was christianized and "Georgianized" over the centuries.

However, this latter theory is somewhat awkward with regard to the fact that, linguistically, the Bats language (within the Nakh family) is much more distinct from Chechen and Ingush than they are from each other, having differentiated from them much longer ago than the 15th century (when Chechen and Ingush began differentiating, approximately), and forms a completely different branch. However, this does not necessarily render the theory to be non-plausible.

See also
 
 
Bat detectors are the most common way to identify the species of flying bats. There are distinct types of call which can indicate the genus, and variations in pattern and frequency which indicate the species. For readers not familiar with the different types of bat detector, there is further information below and elsewhere.

Bats also make social calls, which are less useful for species identification. They sound different from the echolocation calls and do not have the same frequency patterns. Fuller details on the types of call and other clues to species identification follow below but Pipistrelles give good examples of what can be discovered with a bat detector and make a good start to learning how to identify bats.

A whole world of ultrasound opens up when a bat detector is switched on. To distinguish bat and bat species it is important to recognise non-bat species. The following minimally edited recording was made in a small nature reserve in North Devon, UK, in September. None of these calls were audible normally. One comes from a bat see also Non-bat sounds.

Various backgrounds Crickets, unidentified mammal, and a bat social call recorded on a heterodyne detector set to 19 kHz - 379Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. Captured bats can be exactly identified in the hand but in many countries a licence is required before bats can be captured. The Mammal Society has published a guide in the UK: Which Bat is it? by R.E. Stebbings, D.W. Yalden and J.S. Herman

of call There are four basic types of bat echolocation call.

 FM calls The term "frequency modulation" (FM) refer to the "chirp" type of bat call. On a bat detector it sounds like a sharp click. Tuning a heterodyne detector does not change the sound much, but the level varies.

Heterodyne FM call A Daubenton's bat hunting over a river - 169 Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. This is a typical call from a Myotis species. It sounds like hard dry clicks. It was recorded at 40 kHz which was not critical, but this was chosen because it was above the crickets and below Pipistrelles.

CF calls These calls were recorded using a heterodyne bat detector tuned to an appropriate frequency.

The constant frequency (CF) call is a series of peeping calls.

Heterodyne CF call A Lesser Horseshoe bat flying in a barn - 63 Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. The bat emits the calls at a constant frequency, but the heterodyne bat detector exaggerates the doppler effect as it flies.

Hockey stick calls Some bats call with a composite call, starting with an FM component and ending in a constant frequency. This is often called a "hockey stick" call from its appearance on a spectrogram.

Heterodyne FM + CF call A Typical hockey stick call with a ploppy sound as heard on a heterodyne bat detector - 68 Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. Pipistrelle spectrogram The Pipistrelle call is an example of a "hockey stick" composite type FM and CF call with a fast falling frequency FM part ending with a constant frequency, CF section.

A spectrogram is a graphic representation of frequencies against time. The colour represents the loudness of each frequency. This spectrogram shows a falling call which becomes a steady note. The yellow and green blotches are noise.

Hockey stick call slowed down A single Pipistrelle call slowed down 256 times or 8 octaves - 22Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. On a heterodyne detector this sounds like a ploppy click, but when it is slowed down by eight octaves, you can hear how a sharply falling call slows to a single note.

A heterodyne bat detector will only handle a small range of bat frequencies, so it is necessary to keep retuning the heterodyne frequency to find the point of maximum loudness or, in the case of bats with a hockey stick call, the frequency which gives the lowest sound. This gives the lowest plop sound from the CF end of the calls.

[edit] Using a heterodyne bat detector A heterodyne bat detector simply downshifts the bat frequencies by the amount shown on the dial or the display on the more posh detectors. For instance with a hockey stick call ending at 45 kHz, this will produce a near zero end frequency when tuned to 45 kHz, If it is tuned too low, or too high, the difference frequency rises as illustrated in Tuning the heterodyne in the Pipistrelle section below. It will only reproduce a limited range of frequencies, typically only 10 kHz out of a bat spectrum of over 90 kHz.

A heterodyne bat detector does not give a very accurate measurement of the frequency of a bat call, One reason is that the call frequencies can easily vary by 1 kHz or more due to the doppler shift. To track these changes and to get a more precise frequency, a frequency division bat detector or a time expansion bat detector is used using a computer with sound analysis software. Time expansion detectors are beyond the scope of this article but are described in bat detector

Using a frequency division bat detector A frequency division bat detector analyses each bat call and re-synthesises it at typically a tenth of its frequency to make then audible as explained in the bat detector article. It can produce anomalies with sounds with a random structure and can only process periodic or tonal calls with a measurable frequency, but a recording can be used to measure the frequency of all parts of the bat call using a spectrogram display as illustrated below.

You don't tune an FD detector as it works on a full range of bat frequencies, but some, like the Duet, also have a heterodyne detector built in. The entire call is preserved and can be recorded on an audio recorder and studied later on a computer. A spectrogram and other analysis software can also show the repetition rates and patterns of the calls which is also useful for species identification.

This is what a Pipistrelle sounds like on a frequency division bat detector:

Pipistrelle spectrogram with feeding buzz Pipistrelle on a FD detector A Pipistrelle flying and feeding over a pond on a Devon farm - 225 Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. The sound is different from a heterodyne recording and is a squeaky "teek" a bit more like a heterodyne tuned off frequency. With an FD detector you cannot easily tell the difference between 45's and 55's by ear.

And this is what that recording looks like on a spectrogram up to the feeding buzz.

We can measure the end frequency (selected) which comes out as 44.6 kHz after multiplying by 10. The call rate speeds up as a food target is approached ending in a very rapid "feeding buzz". not the call becomes FM only during the feeding buzz.




Social calls This is a wide subject and there is still a lot to be discovered about bat social communication and how they use social calls in roosts and when flying. Generally a bat social call is not tonal, in other words it does not consist of a musical type note. Some bat detectors do not produce an accurate recording of a bat social call. Typically bat social calls use a lower frequency range than echolocation calls, and can thus be heard further away. Sometimes a bat will make a social call while echolocating which can cause confusion.

FD Spectrogram of social and echolocation calls Pipistrelle Social and Echolocation calls on a FD Detector Problems listening to this file? See media help. The spectrogram shows combined slower social calls with faster echolocation calls at a higher frequency.

We can see and hear how the lower frequency social calls are heard at a greater distance than the higher echolocation calls as the bat approaches and departs.

FD Spectrogram detail of social and echolocation calls Zooming in on the spectrogram, we can see that the social calls are atonal and repeated rapidly about five times in each call. The social calls are interleaved between the echolocation calls. They show a ragged frequency distribution around 20 kHz Note the FD detector divides frequencies by 10.

The echolocation calls are single hockey stick calls at a higher repetition rate. At this scale the hockey stick shape is not very clear, but the end frequency can be measured as 45.2 kHz. Note a doppler shift as the bat approaches. The frequency was measured as it passes.

FD Spectrogram of echo on calls This is further zoomed in on two echolocation calls. They appear double due to an echo. The selected portion is 10.8 ms, giving a path length difference of 10.8 times 340 m/s or about 3.7 metres. Note the timings are not altered by the frequency division.




Flying speed A technicality is creeping in here. A spectrogram can easily reveal a doppler shift in a passing bat. You can hear some shifts in the heterodyne calls above, but doppler shifts are most readily heard in CF calls such as the Horseshoe's. You can make a rough estimate the speed of a bat from the doppler shift as it flies past. The rule of thumb is:

At around 50 kHz a shift is 1 kHz indicates about 6.8 m/s or 15 mph (24 km/h). A passing bat will produce a total shift of about double this.

The Pips below showed an estimated shift of around 1.5 kHz indicating a speed just over 5 m/s or a bit under 14 mph (23 km/h).

UK Species This section is also a practical introduction to the recognition of bat species, using Pipistrelles as an example. More detailed and technical information is given below.

Seventeen species of bat are regarded as resident in the UK. The species most often seen and heard are the Common Pipistrelle and the Soprano Pipistrelle, and are a good reference point for comparison with other bat species. In fact it is worth taking time to get familiar with the various calls of the two common species.

Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus These two species are considered together here. This section also acts as a tutorial for analysing bat calls. The only technical knowledge needed is that kHz is the number dialled into a bat detector.

These two pips are distinct species but the frequencies of their calls are very variable and are not an exact indication of the species. They are frequently referred to as "45 Pips" and "55 Pips" from the calls as heard on a heterodyne detector.

Common Pipistrelle Heterodyne Common Pipistrelle Common Pipistrelle call heard on a heterodyne bat detector - 68Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. Note the "ploppy" sound of the call and the "feeding buzzes" as it homed in on insects. The Soprano Pipistrelle's call sounds very similar, but at a higher frequency setting on the heterodyne bat detector.


Tuning the heterodyne As heterodyne bat detector only shifts a limited range of bat call frequencies, it needs to be constantly retuned so as not to miss some species and to identify those heard. One solution sometimes used in bat surveys is to use a second heterodyne detector tuned to a different frequency to detect other species such as Horseshoe bats if these are likely to be present. With Pipistrelles, if it is tuned too low or too high, the difference frequency rises as illustrated in the following example.

Tuning to a Pipistrelle hockey stick call Four typical hockey stick calls: 1) tuned at CF frequency; 2) tuned low; 3) tuned high; 4) back to CF frequency - 213 Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. The first and last sections of this edited recording at about the same frequency as the last part of the hockey stick call, This produces a deeper and wetter ploppy sound. The second section is with the detector tuned too low - this brings the end frequency up and gives a squeaky click sound. The third section is with the detector tuned too high and also gives a squeaky sound but a bit harder. By tuning up and down, the deepest sound as in the fourth section is again produced, and this indicates the approximate frequency of the end of the bat's call. This is important for species identification.

45 and 55 Pips How do you distinguish between P. pipistrellus and P. pygmaeus? In principle, if a call is around 45 kHz it is a Common Pipistrelle and around 55 kHz it is a Soprano. The rare P. nathusii calls at around 39 kHz and so is easier to distinguish. The problem is that there seems to be an almost continuous spectrum of Pip frequencies from 43 kHz to 59 kHz. More studies need to be done on the call frequency ranges of each species.

Another small problem with differing frequencies is the doppler shift and a Pip passing by at 3.4 m/s (8 MPH) will show a doppler shift of about 1 kHz.

For bat workers with a suitable licence, an examination in the hand or close up, shows distinct characteristics between the 45 and 55 Pips:

  • Muzzle colour and shape
    • P.p has a more bulbous muzzle and darker fur.
  • Set of eyes
    • P.p has eyes more deeply set in dark fur.
    • P.pg has thinner fur or bare skin next to the eyes.
  • Wing venation
    • This is difficult to distinguish and can only be seen on a captured bat. If this check is held to be definitive, it does not always correlate with a definite call frequency criterion.
Resolving calls The following recording was made on a Duet combined heterodyne and FD detector. The heterodyne frequency was 53 kHz and the corresponding track sounds like this:

Heterodyne muddled calls Heterodyne recording set to 53 kHz - 133Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. What can be heard is a lot of background noise from crickets and a rather muddled pass by what is probably a pipistrelle.

FD detector whole track A spectrogram of the FD track reveals what happened:




FD detector Lesser Horseshoe pass Another bat was completely missed by the heterodyne detector which was set to the wrong frequency for that bat. It was a Lesser Horseshoe emerging from its roost.




FD detector two Pips pass The muddle following the LHS resolves into two Pipistrelles flying together with frequencies of 47.7 kHz and 54.5 kHz, in other words, a Common and a Soprano Pipistrelle.

Three bats have thus been positively identified using an FD recording




These three bats would not have been identified by a heterodyne bat detector. From other recordings taken at the time, the insistent "chuck" sound was associated with the Soprano Pipistrelle at around 20 kHz, which habitually made this social call while flying. This is where an FD detector falls down as it regenerated the social call at around 40 kHz. FD detectors can only process tonal calls with a measurable frequency and not calls which have a random frequency pattern.

Space for other bat species In preparation

Non-bat sounds A whole world of ultrasound opens up when a bat detector is switched on. To distinguish bat and bat species it is important to recognise non-bat species. The following minimally edited recording was made in a small nature reserve in North Devon, UK, in September. None of these calls were audible normally.

However, the cheat here is that the last sound is from a bat which is making a social call as it flies.

Various backgrounds Crickets, unidentified mammal, and a bat social call recorded on a heterodyne detector set to 19 kHz - 379Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. Rodents and insectivores Mice, voles and shrews emit ultrasound calls which can sometimes be mistaken for bat social calls. Sometimes other clues must be used to be certain, such as a sound coming and going as a bat flies past.

Crickets Crickets make a distinctive sound both audibly and in ultrasound. Some species cannot be heard by the human ear. In the height of summer, they can mask out bat calls and interfere with spectrogram analysis. They can trigger "voice activated" recorders which can be very annoying when listening back later. This is the other relationship between cricket and bat.

Cricket chorus Several species of ultrasound crickets recorded on a heterodyne bat detector set to 19 kHz - 169Kb Problems listening to this file? See media help. Note the reaction of one cricket when approached by a bat detector.

 Background noises There is an irreducible hiss in the background of every bat detector recording. This is "system noise" from the microphone and electronics. This can vary widely between bat detectors and various types of bat detectors. Footsteps and contents of pockets like keys and small change can be very noisy at ultrasound frequencies. Wind in trees is often less of a problem as this noise is absorbed by air at a distance.

Distance range of bat calls Higher sound frequencies are absorbed by the air over a distance. The amount of absorption depends on the frequency and the humidity of the air. This is why close thunder crackles and distant thunder rumbles; the air has absorbed the higher frequencies.

At bat echolocation frequencies, air absorption limits the range both for the bat and for bat detectors. Typically at around 50 kHz the sound level halves every six metres, or put more technically, it is absorbed at around 1 dB per metre. In practice this puts the maximum range of a bat detector at around 30 metres and a bat's ability to locate any object at roughly 20 metres. These are very approximate figures and bats which call at lower frequencies can hear and be heard at much greater distances. Conversely a bat like the Lesser Horseshoe which calls mainly at about 110 kHz is more difficult to detect over 10 metres.

Directionality of the ultrasonic sensor in the bat detector can also have a large affect on detection distance. A highly directional sensor such as the Polaroid element will have significantly decreased distance detection if the bat is not in front of the sensor. The directionality of the actual bat call also varies widely from species to species and can affect detection distance.

With a small target like an insect, the level of the reflection coming back falls with the inverse fourth power of the distance. In other words, at twice the distance, the level falls 16 times. This puts the maximum range at which a bat can detect an insect in metres. A large object such as a tree, a building or the ground can be detected by the bat at much greater distances.

Types of bat call The three basic types of bat call described an illustrated above provide different information to the bat. We cannot know what the bat actually hears, but research is continuing on what a bat can hear and discriminate. A bat does not receive a detailed image like a visual image although it has good eyesight as well, but essentially any ultrasound image it detects will be defocussed due to the comparatively long wavelengths of the sound frequencies used. At 50 kHz, the wavelength is about 7 mm. It is remarkable how well a bat can echolocate.

 Frequency modulation This is a rapidly falling whistle note and is used by most bat species. An FM call gives a very precise time measurement and enables a bat to detect distances to the accuracy of tens of centimetres. This technique is also used in radars where it has advantages over a very short pulse. As with radar itself, it was discovered that bats had been using these techniques or millions of years before man "invented" it.

Constant frequency The Horseshoe bats Rhinolophus spp. use a mainly CF call. This is heard as a characteristic peeping sound on a bat detector. The frequency of the emitted call depends on the species and gives an immediate identification. Their call is not completely CF as it starts and ends with a "grunt" as can be seen on a spectrogram.

A CF call does not give a precise distance measurement. It however gives a precise relative speed measurement due to the doppler effect. A "beep" lasting 60 milliseconds gives a linear length of the call of about 20 metres, thus if a target is less than 10 metres distance, the echo will start to return while the bat is still emitting the call.

The doppler effect of the CF call from a moving bat is greatly exaggerated by a heterodyne bat detector. This can be used to estimate the speed of a flying bat or to identify bats which are echolocating while roosting.

A bat call from a bat approaching or departing at 6.8 m/s (15 MPH) calling at 50 kHz will typically show a doppler shift of +- 1 kHz and pro rats. This can cause uncertainty with some species such as Pipistrelles.




 Composite FM and CF Some species such as the Pipistrelles start their call with an FM component but the rate of change of frequency slows to an almost CF end part. On a spectrogram, his appears as a "hockey stick" shape.

This in effect gives the best of both worlds, enabling precise distance and speed measurement. Some species alternate calls with and without a CF component, and Pipistrelles usually use an FM only call at short ranges.

Detecting bats .Acoustic bat detectors See bat detector for details of the different types of acoustic bat detection. There is a range limitation with this method because of the absorption of ultrasound by air as discussed above. For many bat species the range limit is around 30 metres, but it can be much less with Horseshoe bats and Long-eared bats.

Visual identification Bats fly mostly at night but some indication of the species by sight at dusk or dawn can be given by size, flight patterns and proximity to known roosts. An example is when doing a bat roost emergence count at dusk when the likely species is further confirmed using an acoustic bat detector. The range limit depends on the light, surroundings and the night vision of the observer.

Infrared Infrared imaging enables bats to be observed without causing them disturbance. This requires an IR illuminator such as a spotlight with a suitable filter or an IR LED emitter. Observation is done by IR binoculars or by IR CCTV. Some home camcorders made by Sony are sensitive to IR enabling an IR video recording to be made at low cost. The range limit is set by the illuminator and the definition of the imager. Species recognition is only by estimating size and by flight patterns. The power of an IR floodlight drops rapidly with distance, and a spotlight will miss bats not in the beam.

Thermal Imaging A bat has to be warm to fly and emits heat of the order of 1 watt when flying, depending on size. The range is limited as with IR detection by the definition of the thermal imager. Affordable imagers will not detect distant bats and this method is unlikely to be better than IR illumination except with the most expensive high definition equipment.

Ground radar Fixed ground radar is used to detect birds flying near aircraft. Bird/Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) systems are deployed at airfields. Mobile BASH installations are still in the development stage and await further research with bats. They are very expensive to deploy and the licensing arrangements for mobile zoological ground radars is unknown. Anecdotal reports suggest that the most sophisticated radar systems with detection software can identify the presence of bats up to around 1 KM. The near limit with radars is more distant than the maximum range of the above methods and there may be a substantial distance gap between these systems and radar in which bats cannot be observed.

External links More links and references to be added

 
 
Bats (also Batsi, Batsbi, Batsb, Batsaw, Tsova-Tush) is the language of the Bats people, a Caucasian minority group, and is part of the Nakh family of Caucasian languages. It had 2,500 to 3,000 speakers in 1975.

There is only one dialect. It exists only as a spoken language, as the Bats people use Georgian as their written language. The language is not mutually intelligible with either Chechen or Ingush, the other two members of the Nakh family.
Bats batsba motjiti Spoken in Georgia Region Zemo-Alvani in Kakheti Total speakers 3,420 (2000 WCD)  Language family Northeast Caucasian.

History Until the middle of the 19th century, the Tsovians lived in Tushetia, the mountain region of Northeast Georgia. They were expected to have come settled with Tush people in mid centuries later became assimilated with other Tush people and now are known as one of four tush subgroups. The Tsova Gorge in Tushetia was inhabited by four Bats communities: the Sagirta, Otelta, Mozarta and Indurta. Later they settled on the Kakhetia Plain, in the village of Zemo-Alvani, where they still live. Administratively they are part of the Akhmeta district of Georgia. There are some families of Bats in Tbilisi and other bigger towns in Georgia.

Classification Bats belongs to the Nakh family of Caucasian languages.

Geographic distribution Most speakers of Bats live in the village of Zemo-Alvani, on the Kakhetia Plain, in the Akhmeta district of Georgia. There are some families of Bats in Tbilisi and other bigger towns in Georgia.

Phonology Vowels This section is empty. You can help by adding to it.  Consonants Consonant phonemes of Bats Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Epi-
glottal
2 Glottal central lateral Nasal m n Plosive voiced b d ɡ ʡ ʔ1 voiceless p t k ejective pʼ tʼ kʼ Affricate voiced (d͡z) (d͡ʒ) voiceless t͡s t͡ʃ q͡χ ejective t͡sʼ t͡ʃʼ q͡χʼ Fricative voiceless s ʃ ɬ χ ʜ voiced v z ʒ ʁ ʢ ɦ Trill r Approximant l j
  1. Note that the source is rather ambiguous in its using the term laryngeal that includes a voiced plosive. A voiced glottal plosive canʼt be made, as the glottis needs to be closed. Pending clarification, the glottal stop has been put in the voiced plosives row.
  2. Also note that the source names the epiglottal series ″pharyngeal″ indiscriminately in all the tables, also when it includes a plosive and thus clearly isn't a true pharyngeal (like in the case of Bats).
Grammar The first grammar of Bats – Über die Thusch-Sprache – was compiled by the German orientalist Anton Schiefner (1817–1879) making it into the first grammar of any indigenous Caucasian languages based on sound scientific principles.

Bats has eight noun classes, the highest number among the Caucasian languages. Bats also has explicit inflections for agentivity of a verb; it makes a distinction between as woʒe I fell down (sc. through no fault of my own) and so woʒe I fell down (sc. and it was my own fault).

This section requires expansion. References
  1. ^ Ethnologue entry for Bats
  2. ^ Consonant Systems of the Northeast Caucasian Languages on TITUS DIDACTICA
  3. ^ Kevin Tuite (2007). The rise and fall and revival of the Ibero-Caucasian hypothesis, pp. 7-8. Historiographia Linguistica, 35 #1.
External links
 

Bat

06/16/2011

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Bats are flying mammals in the order Chiroptera (pronounced /kaɪˈrɒptərə/). The forelimbs of bats are webbed and developed as wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums and colugos, glide rather than fly, and can only glide for short distances. Bats do not flap their entire forelimbs, as birds do, but instead flap their spread out digits, which are very long and covered with a thin membrane or patagium. Chiroptera comes from two Greek words, cheir (χείρ) "hand" and pteron (πτερόν) "wing."

There are about 1,240 bat species worldwide, which represent about twenty percent of all classified mammal species.About seventy percent of bats are insectivores. Most of the rest are frugivores, or fruit eaters. A few species such as the Fish-eating Bat feed from animals other than insects, with the vampire bats being the only mammalian parasite species. Bats are present throughout most of the world and perform vital ecological roles such as pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds.

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 is the Giant Golden-crowned Flying-fox, which is 336–343 mm (13.23–13.50 in) long, has a wingspan of 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) and weighs approximately 1.1–1.2 kg (2–3 lb).


Classification and evolution Giant Golden-crowned Flying-fox, Acerodon jubatus. Bats are mammals. Sometimes they are mistakenly called "flying rodents" or "flying rats", and they can also be mistaken for birds. There are two traditionally recognized suborders of bats:

Not all megabats are larger than microbats. The major distinctions between the two suborders are:

  • Microbats use echolocation: megabats do not with the exception of Rousettus and relatives.
  • Microbats lack the claw at the second toe of the forelimb.
  • The ears of microbats do not close to form a ring: the edges are separated from each other at the base of the ear.
  • Microbats lack underfur: they are either naked or have guard hairs.
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 a well-developed visual cortex and show good visual acuity, while microbats rely on echolocation for navigation and finding prey.

The phylogenetic relationships of the different groups of bats have been the subject of much debate. The traditional subdivision between Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera reflects the view that these groups of bats have evolved independently of each other for a long time, from a common ancestor that was already capable of flight. This hypothesis recognized differences between microbats and megabats and acknowledged that flight has only evolved once in mammals. Most molecular biological evidence supports the view that bats form a single or monophyletic group.

Researchers have proposed alternate views of chiropteran phylogeny and classification, but more research is needed.

Genetic evidence indicates that megabats originated during the early Eocene and should be placed within the four major lines of microbats.

Consequently, two new suborders based on molecular data have been proposed. The new suborder Yinpterochiroptera includes the Pteropodidae or megabat family as well as the Rhinolophidae, Hipposideridae, Craseonycteridae, Megadermatidae, and Rhinopomatidae families. The new suborder Yangochiroptera includes all the remaining families of bats (all of which use laryngeal echolocation). These two new suborders are strongly supported by statistical tests. Teeling (2005) found 100% bootstrap support in all maximum likelihood analyses for the division of Chiroptera into these two modified suborders. This conclusion is further supported by a fifteen-base pair deletion in BRCA1 and a seven-base pair deletion in PLCB4 present in all Yangochiroptera and absent in all Yinpterochiroptera.The Chiropteran phylogeny based on molecular evidence is controversial because microbat paraphyly implies that one of two seemingly unlikely hypotheses occurred. The first suggests that laryngeal echolocation evolved twice in Chiroptera, once in Yangochiroptera and once in the rhinolophoids.The second proposes that laryngeal echolocation had a single origin in Chiroptera, was subsequently lost in the family Pteropodidae (all megabats), and later evolved as a system of tongue-clicking in the genus Rousettus.

Common Pipistrelle, Pipistrellus pipistrellus. Analyses of the sequence of the "vocalization" gene, FoxP2 was inconclusive of whether laryngeal echolocation was secondarily lost in the pteropodids or independently gained in the echolocating lineages. However, analyses of the "hearing" gene, Prestin seemed to favor the independent gain in echolocating species rather than a secondary loss in the pteropodids.

In addition to Yinpterochiroptera and Yangochiroptera, the names Pteropodiformes and Vespertilioniformes have also been proposed for these suborders. Under this new proposed nomenclature, the suborder Pteropodiformes includes all extant bat families more closely related to the genus Pteropus than the genus Vespertilio, while the suborder Vespertilioniformes includes all extant bat families more closely related to the genus Vespertilio than to the genus Pteropus.

In the 1980s, a hypothesis based on morphological evidence was offered that stated that the Megachiroptera evolved flight separately from the Microchiroptera. The so-called flying primates theory proposed that when adaptations to flight are removed, the Megachiroptera are allied to primates by anatomical features that are not shared with Microchiroptera. One example is that the brains of megabats show a number of advanced characteristics that link them to primates. Although recent genetic studies support the monophyly of bats,debate continues as to the meaning of available genetic and morphological evidence.

Little fossil evidence is available to help map the evolution of bats, since their small, delicate skeletons do not fossilize very well. However a Late Cretaceous tooth from South America resembles that of an early Microchiropteran bat. The oldest known definitely identified bat fossils, such as Icaronycteris, Archaeonycteris, Palaeochiropteryx and Hassianycteris, are from the early Eocene period, 52.5 million years ago.fossil bats were already very similar to modern microbats. Archaeopteropus, formerly classified as the earliest known megachiropteran, is now classified as a microchiropteran.

Bats were formerly grouped in the superorder Archonta along with the treeshrews (Scandentia), colugos (Dermoptera), and the primates, because of the apparent similarities between Megachiroptera and such mammals. Genetic studies have now placed bats in the superorder Laurasiatheria along with carnivorans, pangolins, odd-toed ungulates, even-toed ungulates, and cetaceans.

"Chiroptera" from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur, 1904 The traditional classification of bats is:

Megabats primarily eat fruit or nectar. In New Guinea, they are likely to have evolved for some time in the absence of microbats. This has resulted in some smaller megabats of the genus Nyctimene becoming (partly) insectivorous to fill the vacant microbat ecological niche. Furthermore, there is some evidence that the fruit bat genus Pteralopex from the Solomon Islands, and its close relative Mirimiri from Fiji, have evolved to fill some niches that were open because there are no nonvolant or non-flying mammals in those islands.

Fossil bats There are few fossilized remains of bats, as they are terrestrial and light-boned. An Eocene bat, Onychonycteris finneyi, was found in the fifty-two-million-year-old Green River Formation in South Dakota, United States, in 2004.It had characteristics indicating that it could fly, yet the well-preserved skeleton showed that the cochlea of the inner ear lacked development needed to support the greater hearing abilities of modern bats. This provided evidence that flight in bats developed well before echolocation. The team that found the remains of this species, named Onychonycteris finneyi, recognized that it lacked ear and throat features present not only in echolocating bats today, but also in other known prehistoric species. Fossil remains of another Eocene bat, Icaronycteris, were found in 1960.

The appearance and flight movement of bats 52.5 million years ago were different from those of bats today. Onychonycteris had claws on all five of its fingers, whereas modern bats have at most two claws appearing on two digits of each hand. It also had longer hind legs and shorter forearms, similar to climbing mammals that hang under branches such as sloths and gibbons. This palm-sized bat had broad, short wings suggesting that it could not fly as fast or as far as later bat species. Instead of flapping its wings continuously while flying, Onychonycteris likely alternated between flaps and glides while in the air. Such physical characteristics suggest that this bat did not fly as much as modern bats do, rather flying from tree to tree and spending most of its waking day climbing or hanging on the branches of trees.

Habitats Flight has enabled bats to become one of the most widely distributed groups of mammals. Apart from the Arctic, the Antarctic and a few isolated oceanic islands, bats exists all over the world. Bats are found in almost every habitat available on Earth. Different species select different habitat during different seasons — ranging from seasides to mountains and even deserts — but bat habitats have two basic requirements: roosts, where they spend the day or hibernate, and places for foraging. Bat roosts can be found in hollows, crevices, foliage, and even human-made structures; and include "tents" that bats construct by biting leaves.

Anatomy Skeleton of a Greater Mouse-eared Bat (Myotis myotis). Scapulae, spine and ribs of Myotis lucifugus (Little Brown Bat). Echolocation Spectrogram of Pipistrellus Bat vocalizations. Detail is shown as the pulse duty cycle increases during a close approach to prey. The bat appears to use a hybrid pulse which combines a sharp falling frequency chirp with an extended constant frequency tail. Such a waveform may offer combined benefits of range estimation as well as Doppler shift detection. Spectrogram generated with Fatpigdog's PC based Real Time FFT Spectrum Analyzer. Pipistrellus Pulses Recording of Pipistrellus bat approaching its prey. Problems listening to this file? See media help. Bat echolocation is a perceptual system where ultrasonic sounds are emitted specifically to produce echoes. By comparing the outgoing pulse with the returning echoes the brain and auditory nervous system can produce detailed images of the bat's surroundings. This allows bats to detect, localize and even classify their prey in complete darkness. At 130 decibels in intensity, bat calls are some of the most intense airborne animal sounds.

To clearly distinguish returning information, bats must be able to separate their calls from the echoes they receive. Microbats use two distinct approaches.

  1. Low Duty Cycle Echolocation: Bats can separate their calls and returning echos by time. Bats that use this approach time their short calls to finish before echoes return. This is important because these bats contract their middle ear muscles when emitting a call so that they can avoid deafening themselves. The time interval between call and echo allows them to relax these muscles so they can clearly hear the returning echo.The delay of the returning echos provides the bat with the ability to estimate range to their prey.
  2. High Duty Cycle Echolocation: Bats emit a continuous call and separate pulse and echo in frequency. The ears of these bats are sharply tuned to a specific frequency range. They emit calls outside of this range to avoid self-deafening. They then receive echoes back at the finely tuned frequency range by taking advantage of the Doppler shift of their motion in flight. The Doppler shift of the returning echos yields information relating to the motion and location of the bat's prey. These bats must deal with changes in the Doppler shift due to changes in their flight speed. They have adapted to change their pulse emission frequency in relation to their flight speed so echoes still return in the optimal hearing range.[24]
The new Yinpterochiroptera and Yangochiroptera classification of bats that are supported by molecular evidence, suggest two possibilities for the evolution of echolocation. It may have been gained once in a common ancestor of all bats and was then subsequently lost in the Old World fruit bats, only to be regained in the Horse-Shoe bats; or echolocation was evolved independent in both the Yinpterochiroptera and Yangochirpotera lineages.

Two groups of moths exploit a bat sense to echolocate: tiger moths produce ultrasonic signals to warn the bats that they (the moths) are chemically protected or aposematic. This was once thought to be the biological equivalent of "radar jamming", but this theory has yet to be confirmed. The moths Noctuidae have a hearing organ called a tympanum, which responds to an incoming bat signal by causing the moth's flight muscles to twitch erratically, sending the moth into random evasive manoeuvres.

Other senses Although the eyes of most microbat species are small and poorly developed, leading to poor visual acuity, none of them are blind. Vision is used to navigate microbats especially for long distances when beyond the range of echolocation. It has even been discovered that some species are able to detect ultraviolet light. They also have a high quality sense of smell and hearing. Bats hunt at night to avoid competition with birds, and travel large distances at most 800 km, in their search for food.

Wings Thermographic image of a bat using trapped air as insulation. The finger bones of bats are much more flexible than those of other mammals. One reason is that the cartilage in their fingers lacks calcium and other minerals nearer the tips, increasing their ability to bend without splintering. The cross-section of the finger bone is also flattened compared to the circular cross section that human finger bones have, and is very flexible. The skin on their wing membranes has more elasticity and so can stretch much more than other mammals.

The wings of bats are much thinner than those of birds, so bats can maneuver more quickly and more accurately than birds. It is also delicate, ripping easily.the tissue of the bat's membrane is able to regrow, such that small tears can heal quickly.surface of their wings is equipped with touch-sensitive receptors on small bumps called Merkel cells, found in most mammals including humans, similarly found on our finger tips. These sensitive areas are different in bats as each bump has a tiny hair in the center,it even more sensitive and allowing the bat to detect and collect information about the air flowing over its wings, thereby providing feedback to the bat to change its shape of its wing to fly more efficiently.An additional kind of receptor cell is found in the wing membrane of species that use their wings to catch prey. This receptor cell is sensitive to the stretching of the membrane. The cells are concentrated in areas of the membrane where insects hit the wings when the bats capture them.

Other The teeth of microbats resemble insectivorans. They are very sharp to bite through the hardened armor of insects or the skin of fruit.

Mammals have one-way valves in veins to prevent the blood from flowing backwards, but bats also have one-way valves in arteries.

One species of bat has the longest tongue of any mammal relative to its body size. This is beneficial to them in terms of pollination and feeding. Their long narrow tongues can reach deep into the long cup shape of some flowers. When their tongue retracts, it coils up inside their rib cage.

Behaviour 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 echo location, and they are unable to locate their food.

The social structure of bats varies, with some bats leading a solitary life 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 together 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 that 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.

70% of bat species are insectivorous, locating their prey by means of echolocation. Of the remainder, most feed on fruits.Only three species sustain themselves with blood. Some species even prey on vertebrates: these are the leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae) of Central America and South America, and the two bulldog bat (Noctilionidae) species, which feed on fish. At least two species of bat are known to feed on bats: the Spectral Bat, also known as the American False Vampire bat, and the Ghost Bat of Australia.species, the Greater Noctule bat, catches and eats small birds in the air.

Predators of bats include bat hawks and bat falcons.

Reproduction Newborn Common Pipistrelle, Pipistrellus pipistrellus. Colony of Mouse-eared bats, Myotis myotis. Most bats have a breeding season, which is in the spring for species living in a temperate climate. Bats may have one to three litters in a season, depending on the species and on environmental conditions such as the availability of food and roost sites. Females generally have one offspring at a time, which could be a result of the mother's need to fly to feed while pregnant. Female bats nurse their youngsters until they are nearly adult size; this is because a young bat cannot forage on its own until its wings are fully developed.

Female bats use a variety of strategies to control the timing of pregnancy and the birth of young, to make delivery coincide with maximum food ability and other ecological factors. Females of some species have delayed fertilization, in which sperm are stored in the reproductive tract for several months after mating. In many such cases, mating occurs in the fall, and fertilization does not occur until the following spring. Other species exhibit delayed implantation, in which the egg is fertilized after mating, but remains free in the reproductive tract until external conditions become favorable for giving birth and caring for the offspring. In yet another strategy, fertilization and implantation both occur but development of the fetus is delayed until favorable conditions prevail. All of these adaptations result in the pup being born during a time of high local production of fruit or insects.

At birth the wings are too small to be used for flight. Young microbats become independent at the age of 6 to 8 weeks, while megabats do not until they are four months old.

A single bat can live over 20 years, but the bat population growth is limited by the slow birth rate.

Hunting, feeding, and drinking A very young bat in Tamil Nadu. Newborn bats rely on the milk from their mother’s nipples for sustenance.When they are a few weeks old, bats are expected to fly and hunt on their own. It is up to them to find and catch their prey, along with satisfying their thirst.[36]

Hunting Most bats are nocturnal creatures. Their daylight hours are spent grooming, sleeping, and resting; it is during the nighttime hours that they hunt. The means by which bats navigate while finding and catching their prey in the dark was unknown until the 1790s, when Lazzaro Spallanzani conducted a series of experiments on a group of blind bats. These bats were placed in a room submerged in total darkness, with silk threads strung across the room. Even then, the bats were able to navigate their way through the room. Spallanzani concluded that the bats were not using their eyes to fly through complete darkness, but something else.

Spallanzani decided that bats were able to catch and find their prey through the use of their ears. To prove this theory, Spallanzani plugged the ears of the bats in his experiment. To his pleasure, he found that the bats with plugged ears were not able to fly with the same amount of skill and precision that they were able to without their ears plugged.

Bats seem to use their ears to locate and catch their prey, but how they accomplish this wasn’t discovered until the 1930s, by one Donald R. Griffin. Griffin, who was a biology student at Harvard College at the time, discovered that bats use echolocation to locate and catch their prey. When bats fly, they produce a constant stream of high-pitched sounds that only bats are able to hear. When the sound waves produced by these sounds hit an insect or other animal, the echoes bounce back to the bat, and guide them to the source.

Feeding and diet The majority of food consumed by bats includes insects, fruits and flower nectar, vertebrates and blood.three-fourths of the world’s bats are insect eaters. Insects consumed by bats include both aerial insects, and ground-dwelling insects. Each bat is typically able to consume one third of its body weight in insects each night, and several hundred insects in a few hours. This means that a group of one thousand bats could eat four tons of insects each year. If bats were to become extinct, the insect population is calculated to reach an alarmingly high number.

Vitamin C In a test of 34 bat species from six major families of bats, including major insect and fruit-eating bat families, found that bats in all tested families have lost the ability to make vitamin C, and this loss may derive from a common bat ancestor, as a single mutation.

Aerial insectivores Watching a bat catch and eat an insect is difficult. The action is so fast that all one sees is a bat rapidly change directions, and continue on its way. Scientist Frederick A. Webster discovered how bats catch their prey. In 1960, Webster developed a high-speed camera that was able to take one thousand pictures per second. These photos revealed the fast and precise way in which bats catch insects.Occasionally, a bat will catch an insect in mid-air with its mouth, and eat it in the air. However, more often than not, a bat will use its tail membrane or wings to scoop up the insect and trap it in a sort of “bug net”., the bat will take the insect back to its roost. There, the bat will proceed to eat said insect, often using its tail membrane as a kind of napkin, to prevent its meal from falling to the ground.

Forage gleaners (diet of non-flying insects) These bats typically fly down and grasp their prey off the ground with their teeth, and take it to a nearby perch to eat it. Generally, these bats don’t use echolocation to locate their prey. Instead, they rely on the sounds produced by the insects. Some make unique sounds, and almost all make some noise while moving through the environment.

Fruits and flower nectar A colony of Great Fruit-eating Bats Fruit-eating, or frugivory, is a specific habit found in two families of bats. Megachiropterans and microchiropterans both include species of bat that feed on fruits. These bats feed on the juices of sweet fruits, and fulfill the needs of some seeds to be dispersed. The fruits preferred by most fruit-eating bats are fleshy and sweet, but not particularly strong smelling or colorful.To get the juice of these fruits, bats pull the fruit off the trees with their teeth, and fly back to their roost with the fruit in their mouth. There, the bat will consume the fruit in a specific way. To do this, the bats crush open the fruit and eat the parts that satisfy their hunger. The remainder of the fruit; the seeds and pulp, are spat onto the ground. These seeds take root and begin to grow into new fruit trees. “Over one hundred and fifty types of plants depend on bats in order to reproduce”.

Some bats prefer the nectar of flowers to insects or other animals. These bats have evolved specifically for this purpose. For example, these bats possess long muzzles and long extrusible tongues covered in fine bristles that aid them in feeding on particular flowers and plants.When they sip the nectar from these flowers, pollen gets stuck to their fur, and is dusted off when the bat takes flight, thus pollinating the plants below them.The rainforest is said to be the most benefitted out off all the biomes that bats live in, because of the large variety of appealing plants.of their specific eating habits, nectar-feeding bats are more prone to extinction than any other type of bat.However, according to a study, bats benefit from eating fruits and nectar just as much from eating insects.

Vertebrates Although most bats are not included in this group, there is a small group of carnivorous bats which feed on other vertebrates and are considered the top carnivores of the bat world.bats typically eat a variety of animals, but normally consume frogs, lizards, birds, and sometimes other bats.example, one vertebrate predator, Trachops cirrhosus, is particularly skilled at catching frogs. These bats locate large groups of frogs by distinguishing their mating calls from other sounds around them. They follow the sounds to the source and pluck them from the surface of the water with their sharp canine teeth.example is the Greater Noctule bat which is believed to catch birds on the wing.

There are also several species of bat that feed on fish. These types of bats are found on almost all continents. They use echolocation to detect tiny ripples in the water’s surface to locate fish. From there, the bats swoop down low, inches from the water, and use specially enlarged claws on their hind feet to grab the fish out of the water. The bats then take the fish to a feeding roost and consume the animal.

Blood There are a few species of bat that consume blood exclusively as their diet. This type of diet is referred to as hematophagy, and three species of bat exhibit this behavior. These species include the Common Vampire Bat, the White-winged Vampire Bat, and the Hairy-legged Vampire Bat. The Common Vampire Bat typically consumes the blood of mammals, while the Hairy-legged and White-winged feed on the blood of birds.

Results of eating Bats’ dung, or guano, is so rich in nutrients that it is mined from caves, bagged, and used by farmers to fertilize their crops. During the U.S. Civil War, guano was used to make gunpowder.

There comes a time in the year that some bats will not eat to supply themselves with food for the night, but for the coming months. These bats are beginning to hibernate. To do this, the bat will eat as much food as its body can contain, being as fat as possible. The bat’s body then takes from the supply of fat for energy, but very slowly, because all body activities have slowed down. This supply of fat will last until the spring season arrives.

Conservation efforts Through conservancy efforts, such as the Organization for Bat Conservation, bats are becoming better understood and people beginning to understand the crucial role bats play in insect control and pollination.

In the United Kingdom all bats are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Acts, and even disturbing a bat or its roost can be punished with a heavy fine.

In Sarawak, Malaysia bats are protected species under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 (see Malaysian Wildlife Law). The large Naked bat (see Mammals of Borneo) and Greater Nectar bat are consumed by the local communities.

Bats can be a tourist attraction. The Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas is the summer home to North America's largest urban bat colony, an estimated 1,500,000 Mexican free-tailed bats, which eat an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects each night. An estimated 100,000 tourists per year visit the bridge at twilight to watch the bats leave the roost.

Artificial roosts Very large bat house, Tallahassee, Florida, United States. Many people put up bat houses to attract bats just like many people put up birdhouses to attract birds. Reasons for this vary, but mostly center around the fact that bats are the primary nocturnal insectivores in most if not all ecologies. Bat houses can be made from scratch, made from kits, or bought ready made. Plans for bat houses exist on many web sites, as well as guidelines for designing a bat house.conservation societies are giving away free bat houses to bat enthusiasts worldwide.

A bat house constructed in 1991 at the University of Florida campus next to Lake Alice in Gainesville, Florida has a population of over 100,000 free-tailed bats.

In Britain, British hardened field defences of World War II have been converted to make roosts for bats. Pillboxes that are well dug-in and thick walled are naturally damp and provide a stable thermal environment that is required by bats that would otherwise hibernate in caves. With a few minor modifications, suitable pillboxes can be converted to artificial caves for bats.

Again in the UK, purpose-built bat houses are occasionally built when existing roosts are destroyed by developments such as new roads; one such has been built associated with bat bridges on the new (2008) A38 Dobwalls bypass.

Threats A little brown bat with white nose syndrome. While conservation efforts are in place to protect bats, many threats still remain.

White nose syndrome Main article: White nose syndrome White nose syndrome is a condition associated with the deaths of more than a million bats in the Northeastern United States.The disease is named after a white fungus found growing on the muzzles, ears, and wings of some afflicted bats, but it is not known if the fungus is the primary cause of the disease or is merely an opportunistic infection.rates of 90–100% have been observed in some caves. At least six species of hibernating bats are affected, including the endangered Indiana bat.Because the affected species have a long lifespan and a low birth rate of only about one offspring per year, it is not expected that populations will recover quickly.


Pathogens and role in the transmission of zoonoses Among ectoparasites, bats occasionally carry fleas, but are one of the few mammalian orders that cannot host lice (most of the others are water animals).

Bats are natural reservoir for a large number of zoonotic pathogens including rabies,acute respiratory syndrome (SARS),Henipavirus (i.e. Nipah virus and Hendra virus ) and possibly ebola virus.Their high mobility, broad distribution, and social behaviour (communal roosting, fission-fusion social structure) make bats favourable hosts and vectors of disease. Many species also appear to have a high tolerance for harbouring pathogens and often do not develop disease while infected. However, contrary to folklore, this is not true of rabies, which is as fatal to bats as it is to all other species. However, a bat may be ill with rabies for a longer time than other mammals.

In regions where rabies is endemic, only 0.5% of bats carry the disease. However, of the few cases of rabies reported in the United States every year not caused by dogs, most are caused by bat bites.Those that are rabid may be clumsy, disoriented, and unable to fly, which makes it more likely that they will come into contact with humans. Although one should not have an unreasonable fear of bats, one should avoid handling them or having them in one's living space, as with any wild animal. If a bat is found in living quarters near a child, mentally handicapped person, intoxicated person, sleeping person, or pet, the person or pet should receive immediate medical attention for rabies. Bats have very small teeth and can bite a sleeping person without being felt. There is evidence that it is possible for the bat rabies virus to infect victims purely through airborne transmission, without direct physical contact of the victim with the bat itself.[66][67]

If a bat is found in a house and the possibility of exposure cannot be ruled out, the bat should be sequestered and an animal control officer called immediately, so that the bat can be analysed. This also applies if the bat is found dead. If it is certain that nobody has been exposed to the bat, it should be removed from the house. The best way to do this is to close all the doors and windows to the room except one that opens to the outside. The bat should soon leave.

Due to the risk of rabies and also due to health problems related to their faecal droppings (guano), bats should be excluded from inhabited parts of houses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides full detailed information on all aspects of bat management, including how to capture a bat, what to do in case of exposure, and how to bat-proof a house humanely.In certain countries, such as the United Kingdom, it is illegal to handle bats without a license.

Where rabies is not endemic, as throughout most of Western Europe, small bats can be considered harmless. Larger bats can give a nasty bite.

Mythology "Nightwing," a work of art by Dale Whistler in Austin, Texas. The fact that bats live in caves and mammals that fly give them status as liminal beings in many cultural traditions.

The bat is sacred in Tonga and is often considered the physical manifestation of a separable soul.[69] Bats are closely associated with vampires, who are said to be able to shapeshift into bats, fog, or wolves. Bats are also a symbol of ghosts, death, and disease. Among some Native Americans, such as the Creek, Cherokee and Apache, the bat is a trickster spirit.

Chinese lore claims the bat is a symbol of longevity and happiness, and is similarly lucky in Poland and geographical Macedonia and among the Kwakiutl and Arabs.

Pre-Columbian cultures associated animals with gods and often displayed them in art. The Moche people depicted bats in their ceramics.

In Western Culture, the bat is often a symbol of the night and its foreboding nature. The bat is a primary animal associated with fictional characters of the night, both villains like Dracula and heroes like Batman. The association of the fear of the night with the animal was treated as a literary challenge by Kenneth Oppel, who created a best selling series of novels, beginning with Silverwing, which feature bats as the central heroic figures much as anthropomorphized rabbits were the central figures to the classic novel Watership Down.

An old wives' tale has it that bats will entangle themselves in people's hair. One likely source of this belief is that insect-eating bats seeking prey may dive erratically toward people, who attract mosquitoes and gnats, leading the squeamish to believe that the bats are trying to get in their hair.

Mesoamerica Bat, Moche Culture 100 A.D. Larco Museum Lima, Peru. In Mesoamerican mythology during the Classic-Contemporary period, bats symbolized the land of the dead, which was considered to be the underworld.Also symbolized destruction and decay. Bats may have symbolized in this way because they fly only at night and dwell in caves during the daytime and are associated with human skulls and bones by classic Maya ceramists. Central Mexicans sometimes depicted bats having snouts that looked like sacrificial knives and carrying human head in the Postclassic era.Bat images were engraved onto funerary urns and were emphasized with large claws and round ears by Zapotecs. They were commonly associated with death.The depiction of bats on funeral urns and goods took on some the characteristics of the jaguar which was and still is another entity of the night and the underworld. There have also been instances where bats are portrayed next to other unseemly animals including scorpions and other nocturnal animals such as owls.

A gigantic, life-size ceramic bat-man has been discovered and dug up from the Templo Mayor.The Templo Mayor is located in the center of the Mexica capital of Tenochtitlan. Known as a god of death, this statue has the clawed feet and hands of a bat, but the body of a man. The statue's human-like eyes bulged out from the bat-like head, making the Zapotec images very realistic and living. It was said that in the 1930s the Kaqchikel Maya proclaimed that the bat was the Devil’s provider. Kaqchikel would leave the Devil’s underworld home and collect blood from the animals to be used for scrumptious meals to feed the Devil. “In the myths, the beast of prey and the animal that is preyed upon play two significant roles. They represent two aspects of life—the aggressive, killing, conquering, creating aspect of life, and the one that is the matter or, you might say, the subject matter”.In the Devil’s underworld, dead sinners would work off their sins in order to get to heaven, indicating that the bat was too a sinner and worked under the authority of the Devil.

Oaxaca Oaxacans believe that the jealousy of the bat in wanting birds' feathers that gently fit their bodies led him to become nocturnal. The bat feeling isolated and undesirable spoke to God after that he complained he was extremely cold. God, fair and just turned to birds in the animal kingdom and asked if they would show compassion and donate a feather to the bat so the feathers would keep him warm. The birds all agreed, and began to pluck one feather from their bodies to give to the bat. With all of the feathers, the bat became much magnificent looking than all birds, even able to spread color to the night sky. During daylight, the bat created rainbows that reflected vibrant colors from the sun. The bat soon became overly arrogant and conceited, due having this new and improved look. The birds grew tired of the bat’s self conceitedness and glorification, and so decided to fly up to heaven and speak to God to do something. The birds informed to God of the bat's behaviour, God was surprised and so decided to take a look himself. When on Earth, God called on the bat to show him what he was doing. The bat began to fly across the light blue sky, where one by one each feather began to fall out, uncovering the bat’s natural ugly looking body. The bat became ashamed and distressed of his appearance after all feathers came off, missing the beautiful, plentiful feathers that he had, that he decided to hide in caves during the day. He would only come out during the night, searching high and low for the feathers to avoid embarrassment that he will not be seen during his search.

East Nigeria According to a particular East Nigerian tale, the bat developed its nocturnal habits after causing the death of his partner the bush-rat. The bat and the bush-rat would share activities such as rummaging through the grass and trees, hunting, talking and bonding during the day. When at night, the bat and the bush-rat would alternate in cooking duties cooking what was caught, and eat together. It appeared to a dedicated partnership, however the bat hated the bush-rat immensely. The bush rat always found the bat’s soup more appetising so when eating dinner one night asked the bat why the soup tasted better than his own and also asked how it was made. The bat agreed to show him how to make it the next day but instead was forming a malicious plan.

Next day as bat prepared his soup, the bush-rat came, greeting him and asked if he could be shown what was agreed yesterday. Earlier, the bat has found a pot looking exactly like the one he used usually, but it held warm water and so decided to use this instead. The bat explained to the bush-rat that to make his soup, he had to boil himself prior to serving the soup where sweetness and flavor of the soup came from the flesh. The bat jumped in the pot seemingly excited, with the bush-rat mesmerised. After a few minutes the bat climbed out and while the bush-rat was distracted, switched pots. The bat then served his soup out of the soup pot, both tasted it. Over anxious and eager, the bush-rat, jumped into the pot of warm water. He stayed much longer in the pot dying in the process.

When the bush-rat’s wife returned that night to find her husband dead, she wept and ran to the chief of the land's house telling him about what happened and what she was sure what the bat had done. In hearing this, the chief became angry, ordering for the immediate arrest of the bat. It just so happened that the bat was flying over the house and overheard what was just said. He quickly went into hiding high up in a tree. When the chief’s men went looking for the bat, he could not be found. The search to arrest the bat carried on over several days, but still could not be found. The bat needed to eat, so flew out of hiding every night to hunt for food to escape of being arrested. This, according to Eastern Nigeria mythology, is why bats only fly at night.

Heraldry Main article: Bat (heraldry) Burgee of the Royal Valencia Yacht Club. The bat is sometimes used as a heraldic symbol. The coats of arms of certain cities in eastern Spain, like Valencia, Palma de Mallorca and Fraga have the bat over the shield. Formerly the Barcelona city coat of arms also had a bat crowning it, but the bat has been removed in the present-day versions.

The heraldic use of the bat in Valencia, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands has its origins in a winged dragon (vibra or vibria), which featured in King James I of Aragon's helmet or cimera reial. This is the most widely accepted theory, although there is also a legend that says that due to the intervention of a bat, King James was able to win a crucial battle against the Saracens that allowed him to win Valencia for his kingdom.

The use of the bat as a heraldic symbol is prevalent in the territories of the former Crown of Aragon and it is little used elsewhere. However, it can be found in a few places, as in the coats of arms of the city of Albacete, in Spain, as well as the town of Montchauvet (Yvelines), in France.

Certain Spanish football clubs including Valencia CF and Levante UD use bats in their badges.

The Burgee of the Royal Valencia Yacht Club (Reial Club Nàutic de València) displays a bat on a golden field in its center.

In popular culture In Western Culture, bats are a symbol of darkness and forbidden nature, something that is associated with fictional dark characters. For example: superheroes like Batman, villains like Dracula and videogame characters like Rouge the Bat of Sonic the Hedgehog videogame series.

State symbols Three U.S. states have an official state bat. Texas and Oklahoma are represented by the Mexican free-tailed bat. Virginia is represented by the Virginia big-eared bat.

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