Do bats hibernate?
There are two answers to this question. Yes and no. The varied answers to question are because there are bats that hibernate and others that do not.
What are the differences?
Bats that hibernate can generally be found in places that have high latitudes and are prove to extreme cold weather patterns. The ones that do not hibernate are found in areas that have low latitudes. What this means is that if you are in warm climate areas, your bat ‘friends’ will not hibernate, as opposed to those in cold places like the Americas.
How do they carry on through winter?
Before hibernation, bats will feed well building their food reserves as they must survive on the food reserves during winter. Unlike some animals which may gather food to wake up and eat occasionally, bats only store food in their bodies. During winter;
• Their metabolism rates are lowered to a rate which ensures that only a bare minimum energy is required to keep the bats alive.
• Secondly, their heart beats are lowered to up 10 beats a minute. This effectively lowers the bats needs for food as they hibernate.
• They also cluster together in caves and places that are likely to provide heat to ensure they do not freeze to death.
What happens after hibernation?
Any animal that has gone through hibernation will lose a lot of weight. Bats however lose as much as half their weight. This means that after a six month long ‘slumber’ they wake up hungry. During spring you may witness what seems to be’ frenzy feeding fests by the bats’. However, this is nothing to worry about, the bats are not sick they are merely trying to regain their original body weight.
Hibernation may ensure the survival of the bats; however, it greatly compromises their immune systems. This means the beginning of spring might also be the season most bats get sick and die. However, in due time the surviving bats go on to mate and have more offspring.
Why is this information important to you?
By understanding bats behavior, you are able to pick the earliest changes in habits that may indicate illness. For instance seeing a bat flying during winter may be suffering from White Nose Syndrome. This kind of observation should spur you into action like reporting such an observation to the authorities. It is also import because we take caution not to destroy their habitat like caves.
Read the How to get rid of bats page for helpful information and to learn more about Do bats hibernate?
Do bats hibernate?
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