<p>A<i> </i>Mexican free-tailed bat comes in for a close-up as it leaves its cave to hunt. Every night from March to October, 1.5 million of these bats stream out from beneath a bridge in downtown Austin, Texas.</p>
Bats on the Wing
AMexican free-tailed bat comes in for a close-up as it leaves its cave to hunt. Every night from March to October, 1.5 million of these bats stream out from beneath a bridge in downtown Austin, Texas.
Photograph by Joel Sartore with Cole Sartore, Nat Geo Image Collection
16 Pictures of Bats Just in Time for Halloween
During National Bat Week, the scariest thing about bats is how endangered they are.
ByJason BittelNational Geogrpahic
Published October 26, 2015
• 2 min read
Bats matter in a big way in countless ecosystems around the world. In truth, the only thing scary about bats is the rate at which they're disappearing.
Bats are a wildly diverse order of mammals, with more than 1,300 species worldwide. About one out of every five mammal species is a bat.
Despite the way they're often depicted in movies and television, only three species of bats feed exclusively on blood. Most species—around 70 percent—dine on insects, making them invaluable partners in human agriculture by removing crop pests. The rest eat nectar and fruit and serve as some of the best pollinators and seed dispersers on the planet.
Unfortunately, these creatures are in serious trouble.
"Bats are facing many threats, including impacts from wind
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