The Ultimate How Bats Work Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

When you think of bats you might think of scary, blood-sucking creatures that hang upside down in caves. While most bats are not dangerous and do not eat blood, there are some that do is and bats are certainly famous for their ability to sleep hanging upside down. Take this quiz to learn more about bats.

At what time of day are bats active?

Bats are active at night, dusk and dawn. During the day they sleep.


Bats are classified into megachiroptera and microchiroptera. What do megachiroptera eat?

Megachiroptera are larger bats, also known as flying foxes or fruit bats. They are vegetarian and feed on fruit and pollen. Microchiroptera are smaller bats and are usually carnivores. They primarily feed on insects, but some eat frogs, lizards, birds or even other bats.


How wide is the wingspan of the Malayan flying fox?

The Malayan flying fox is the largest type of bat. Its wingspan is around six feet wide. The bumble-bee bat is the smallest bat, with a wingspan of just six inches (15 cm).


Chiroptera comes from the Greek words for "hand-wing." Why are bats classified as Chiroptera?

The wings of a bat are actually very long hands and fingers. Skin stretches over the fingers to the sides of their bodies and their legs, creating wings.


It is believed that bats were originally non-flying mammals. How did bats develop their wings?

Bats used to leap through the air from branch to branch, like lemurs and squirrels. Some bats had a mutation which gave them extra skin between their arms and body, helping them to leap through the air with greater mobility and thus favoring their survival. Eventually, through the process of natural selection, bats with wider skin membranes developed fully functional wings.


Bat wings are more flexible than bird wings. How does this help bats?

With flexible wings, bats are able to change the shape of their wings in order to maneuver. They can dive, weave and change direction very quickly, which helps them when they are hunting for prey.


How do bats make up for the poor visibility at night?

Bats use the process of echolocation to navigate and to find prey at night time. Echolocation is when the bats send out high-pitched sounds and listen to the way that the sound bounces back to them, indicating the location of an object.


What is a sound wave?

When you push air past your vocal cords to make a sound, the rush of the air causes fluctuations in air pressure, pushing air particles out and then pushing them back in. A sound wave is a pattern of these air fluctuations, which passes on the sound energy. When the energy hits something, it is deflected back in the opposite direction. Echolocation is based on this concept.


If bats use echolocation during the night to find prey, why don't we hear many bat noises?

The sounds that bats use for echolocation are extremely high pitched, beyond that of the human hearing range.


If an insect is to the right of a bat, which ear will hear the sound from echolocation first?

If an insect is to the right of a bat, the bat will hear the echo in its right ear slightly before its left ear. A bat determines the vertical position of objects with the help of a complex collection of outer ear folds. Sound hits the ear at different points, which the bat can interpret to determine the object's position.


What aspect of sound does a bat use to determine the size of an insect?

The intensity of the echo indicates the size of an object; a larger object will reflect more sound and will produce a more intense echo. The pitch of an echo helps a bat to determine the direction in which the insect is moving; an insect moving away from the bat will return a lower pitch than the original sound and vice versa.


Where does the phrase "blind as a bat" come from?

Bats are not blind. In fact, they have fairly acute vision. However, since they are awake during night hours, it is difficult for them to see as acutely as they would with the help of some light. Therefore, bats use their vision together with echolocation in order to navigate and find prey.


Bats spend their resting time hanging upside down. How does this help the bats?

A bat's wings are not strong enough to launch them off the ground from a dead stop. Hanging upside down allows bats to fall into flight. Also, bats are able to roost high up where most animals cannot reach and will not fight them for roosting spots. This helps bats to hide from danger and roost comfortably.


How does a bat manage to hang upside down for so long?

The tendons of a bat's talons are connected to its upper body, rather than to muscle. When a bat hangs upside down it needs to use muscle to open its talons and grip a surface. As it relaxes, the weight of its upper body pulls down on the tendons connected to the talons, causing the talons to close and lock into position as long as the bat's weight is pulling them closed. Since this position is maintained by the bat relaxing, the bat can remain upside down comfortably for long periods.


How do bats interact with each other?

Bats live in large colonies and cluster together for warmth and security, usually in the same location each night. Bats are very social creatures and have demonstrated fascinating acts of altruism to support the colony, bringing food back to sick bats that cannot hunt for themselves.


Flying at night is very hard work. How do bats conserve energy during the day?

Bats enter into a state of torpor every day, which is like a light hibernation. They slow their metabolism and cool their bodies, thereby reducing the biological activity required to maintain body temperature, helping them to conserve energy. During the winter, some bats migrate and others enter a into a proper hibernation, which allows them to survive during the winter when food is scarce.


Vampire bats feed on blood. How much blood do they require each day in order to survive?

Vampire bats need only two tablespoons of blood each day in order to survive. It is therefore unlikely that they will consume enough blood to kill their prey, which are usually large animals or sometimes humans. Vampire bats prick the animal or human and lap up the blood that flows out from the prick. Their saliva contains a powerful anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting, so that the trickle provides enough blood for the bat to feed off.


How many mosquitoes can a little brown bat eat in one hour?

Little brown bats are one of the most common bats in North America and help keep mosquito populations under control by consuming as many as 1,200 mosquitoes in just one hour. Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, is famous for its colony of Mexican free-tail bats, which can eat up to 30,000 pounds of insects in a single night.


How do bats help to grow bananas?

Bats can be pests for farmers if they eat their crop. However, bats also help to grow fruits by acting as pollinators. Bats eat fruits such as bananas, figs, mangoes, cashews and agave, which is used to make tequila. When they feed on the plants, pollen gets stuck to their bodies and is dispersed as the bat flies around, helping to pollinate many plants.


What are bat feces used for?

Though these things sound like complete opposites, bat feces, called guano, make both a great fertilizer and an effective cleaning agent. Guano is rich in nitrogen, which is why it is sought after by farmers as fertilizer and has also been used to make explosives. Scientists have recently discovered that guano contains enzymes that are effective cleaning agents in laundry detergents and other products.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!