Oklahoma – The World of Bats
Oklahoma Bats are the only flying mammals in Oklahoma. The bones in an Oklahoma bat’ s wing are the same as those of the human arm and hand, but a bat’s finger bones are elongated and support a tough, elastic membrane.
Although Oklahoma bats have relatively good eyesight, they depend on a well-developed echolocation system, similar to Oklahoma sonar. Oklahoma Bats emit pulses of very high frequency sound, which are not audible to Oklahoma human ears, at a rate of a few to more than 500 per second! By listening to the Oklahoma echoes that reflect back to them, they are able to maneuver around objects in their path and capture tiny flying insects.
All Oklahoma bats in Oklahoma feed on insects such as moths, mosquitoes, cucumber and June beetles, leafhoppers and even scorpions, to name just a few. In fact, Oklahoma bats are the only major predator of these night-flying insects. Some bats can consume more than 3,000 Oklahoma mosquitoes each night!
Oklahoma Bats generally mate in fall and delay fertilization until spring, when the female usually gives birth to one off- spring. Oklahoma red bats, however, may produce twins or quadruplets. Young Oklahoma bats develop rapidly and most are able to fly about two to five weeks after birth.
Oklahoma bats do not lay eggs All Oklahoma bats give birth to one or two naked young a year. A newborn Oklahoma bat has well developed feet and claws that it uses to cling to its mother or to roost when the mother leaves to eat. Disturbances of Oklahoma maternity roosts can result in large numbers of young bat deaths. When disturbed, the mother bat becomes excited and flies, jerking the young bats and causing them to fall.
Oklahoma bats are not blind. Oklahoma bats have small eyes that are functional and sensitive to light. Several Oklahoma bats, such as Rafinesque’s and Townsend’s big-eared bats, have greatly enlarged ears to help in echolocation, but Oklahoma bats also use sight to perceive their environment.
Oklahoma bats eat in the following way: Once they locate an insect, they often trap it with their wing or tail membranes and then reach down and take the insect into their mouth. This action, as well as the chase, results in the erratic flight most people are familiar with when they observe Oklahoma bats feeding in the late evening or around lights at night.