Friday, February 23, 2018

Animals: Bats - the Myths and the Crafts



Bats are spectacular creatures. They are the only mammal that truly flies. And there are so many myths to explore about their habits and features that kids love learning about them. My children and I talked about bats as we explored several books about them including Bats (The World of Mammals) by Sophie Lockwood and Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. We also discussed myths and made two bat-themed crafts.






Coffee Filter Bat Craft

Materials 
Steps

1. Gather all of your materials.

Water Dropper

2. Using the black or brown marker, color on the coffee filter.


3. Lay the coffee filters on a tray and spray them with water or use an eye dropper to drip water onto the filters.


4. After your coffee filters have dried, open your clothespin and fold the coffee filter into the open clip part.

5. Draw faces for your bats.
6. Glue the faces onto your bats.
7. Attach a magnet to the back of the bats so you can hang them onto your refrigerator.


There are so many misconceptions about bats. Many believe they are blind, suck blood, and are just pests but this couldn't be further from the truth.


Myth One - "Blind as a Bat"

Bats have eyes and can actually see rather well but they do use echolocation to help them navigate the night skies. Whales, dolphins, and even submarines use echolocation to help them navigate. Not all bats have or use echolocation but insectivores do to help them find their food. Fruit bats even see in color to aid them in the finding of their favorite fruits.



Myth Two - All bats suck blood.

Of the over one thousand species of bats, only three types drink blood as their preferred meal choice. These bats live in Central and South America and prefer cattle or bird blood to humans.

Do you love bugs or insects? No? Well, then bats are one of your best friends. One little brown bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes an hour. The insects provide protein and fats for the flying creatures and humans can say goodbye to pests.


Myth Three - Bats get stuck in your hair.

Remember echolocation? Bats will not get tangled up in your hair because they can use their echolocation skills to navigate around you.


Myth Four - Bats have rabies.

While a small percentage of the bats captured for testing to the Centers for Disease Control in the United States may have rabies, they aren't any more likely to contract rabies than other wild animals. However, it is important to not handle any wild animal.  If you think an animal is ill, call animal control or the police to help you find the right people who can help you.


Myth Five - Bats are flying mice.

Nope. Bats aren't even related to rodents. They are classified by scientists into their own group: Chiroptera (hand-wing).

Toilet Paper Roll Bat Craft 

Materials 
Steps 

1. Gather all of your materials.



2. Paint the toilet paper rolls.

3. Have your children create hand prints on the construction paper. I recommend painting their hands with the paintbrush to get a nice, even print.

Hand prints


4. After the hand prints are dry, cut them out.
5. Draw a face for the bat.


6. Attach the face and hand prints (wings) to the bats with glue and tape.


How do bats help? Why are they important?
  • Insectivores control the insect population 
  • Bats that eat fruit help with pollination - they spread seeds of the fruit that they eat 
  • Reforestation by fruit bats 




Resources 

National Geographic Kids' Bat Myths Busted 
National Geographic Kids' Amazing Bats of Bracken Cave 



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