How do bats give birth? and other reproductive info

Bats usually conjure up a thought of horror, this is because they are usually seen in scary movies and come out at night.  I tried find out why how they give birth, I’ve heard many rumors and I wanted to investigate.  This is what I found.

Bats have one of the longest gestation periods of the animal kingdom, 7 months, very close to humans. They have interesting reproductive cycles and females can manipulate the cycle to suit her and her offspring. They give birth upside down and the mother catches the baby before it hits the ground.

How do they reproduce?

Different species of bats have different mating rituals. An example of one of these rituals is during mating season bats swarm around each other, the males show their attractiveness to the potential female mates by showing their agility. When the female has chosen the male they both go off to a spot in a cave and mate in private.

Depending on the species of bats you’ll notice that some bats are monogamous and some promiscuous, the monogamous bats are the only species where the male bats stay to raise the pups. Usually male and female bats are segregated and only come together when it’s time to mate.

Female bats give birth in large colonies, when pregnant the female bats create maternity colonies and these can contain up to 100 or so bats

The female bat is intelligent and usually allows herself to become pregnant when there’s higher levels of food offered in her environmental as well as other beneficial factors. She uses her intelligence to manipulate the time of her pregnancy, this allows the best and highest chance of survival. She might even delay the time when her let her eggs will be fertilized by a male bat.

How many babies can they have?

Bats can only give birth to one pup at a time this is because it is very difficult to care for her young. During her pregnancy she has to make sure she finds enough food for her and her growing baby in the wild and fight off predators at the same time.

Baby bats can live independently from 6 weeks to 4 months after being born then they become full adults who are able to reproduce.

When the babies are born they stick to their mother’s body around the furry belly area. This is where they sleep and eat. They are totally dependent on their mothers during this time.

Where do they have their babies?  

The maternity colonies that bats create for themselves are very safe. Bat populations which have babies in colonies are populations of little brown bats and big brown bats. They tend to stick to the same roost as the previous year.

The growing population of humans taking up space has forced bats to live and change with us. initially their habitats had been in hollow trees but now that large parts of the forest have been depleted they have taken up in attics to create maternity colonies. This is because the warmth in attics is a great incubator for the young pups.

Because of the mothers lightning fast reflexes they are able to give birth hang upside down and catch the baby in her wings before the baby falls the ground. If the mother fails to catch her pup and it falls and onto the ground then it will be eaten by bugs at the bottom of the colony which feast on the bat feces on the found level, this will result in death of the pup.

The bat baby is quite large, it can it usually weigh up to a third of the total weight of the mother. In human terms this means a mother would give birth to a baby that’s 40 lbs heavy.

Do bats give birth in their mouth?

I’ve sometimes heard the misconception that bats give birth in the mouth, this is incorrect. The only animal that seems to do something like this is the gastric brooding frog. This frog lays eggs and then swallows them and then waits for them to give birth in their mouths.

Which time of the year do they give birth?

In early spring females come out from the hibernation and became the first to create nursery colonies or maternity colonies, many bats have pups in close proximity together in these colonies. After about 7 months of gestation baby bats emerge and rely on their mothers for support during the warm summer months

The bats in the colony will not emerge from the nest all through winter or until the environment outside with regards to temperature is favorable

Lay eggs or live birth

Majority of mammals including bats give live birth as opposed to laying eggs, this is because the habitats of mammals are very complex and this will make it difficult for them to take care of their eggs. It is easier to take care of young baby in their environment. The only known mammal to lay eggs are with duck-billed platypus

Do you have an infestation?

Signs of having an infestation of bats in your house are:

  • Sounds: Scratching and flapping sounds can be heard in attics, if the sound is not flapping but squeaking then you probably have mice
  •  Night flyers: You might see them flying around in your home during the night time
  • One of many: If you see one and it’s in the house then there’s probably a colony in your walls or attic
  • Stains: Brown or black oil from their fur can stain your walls, especially around small holes where they can enter, lookout for these

Getting rid of bats

Some home remedies that can repel bats are mothballs and aerosol repellents, mylar balls, hanging aluminium foil, phenol and using mirrors

You can use an exclusion device/method to ensure that bats will not be able to renter your house, seal and caulk up all crevices and holes that bats can fit into.

A pest removal service will know exactly what to do to get rid of your bat infestation, this is the safest and easiest and most convenient option if you have the funds.

Bats are very helpful to humans but not in your house. Be sure to get rid of them as soon as you can.

Other facts

Male fruit bats that have mammary glands are able to breast feed their young with help from these glands. They are the only known male capable of lactation

Usually the smaller than mammal the shorter the gestation period but this is not the case in bats

The mother flies with her babies. The pups link to her body by attaching its toes to her waist and they cling to the mother’s nipple with their mouths. The mother does not assist with holding the pup in place

If you enjoyed this article, found it helpful or think someone else would find it interesting or helpful please share it. I would really appreciate it.

How do bats give birth? and other reproductive info
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