Forest Speaks


Bones of human arm and hand

Bats fly with their fingers. Their wings consist of delicate membranes that strech between their "finger" bones. The "thumb" is a small claw used to crawl along surfaces and to hold their food.


If you find lots of insect wings at the base of a hollow tree, look inside, there may be bats there. Bats often take their food back to a safe "feeding roost" to eat it.

A weekly collection of insect wings left by bats under the stairs in one of the dormatories on BCI showed researchers what bats were eating all year round. Their diet changes according to the availability of insects.

Fruit eating bats

Researchers estimate that fruit eating bats on Barro Colorado move 25-50 MILLION fruits per year. If you discover bat droppings under a sleeping roost, check to see if they contain seeds. You may want to plant the seeds to find out what they are.

A bat eating Piper fruit. (Photo: Merlin Tuttle) Click on images to enlarge.