Forest Speaks


Mammals that fly!

In Panama there are 120 species of bats. In the entire U.S. there are only 44 species. There are roughly 70 different species on Barro Colorado.

Why are there so many species here?

Each plays a different role. Bats in the tropics eat fruit, pollen, nectar, small animals, blood and insects. Temperate bats eat insects only.

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By trapping a bat in a mist net, one can find out

What kind of bat is it?

Is it male or female?

Is it pregnant and/or lactating?

Is it genetically related to other bats in the area? (take blood sample)

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Bats do something we can't do: they navigate using sound

The bat emits sounds that are so high in frequency that we can't even hear them.

The sound bounces off of objects (like insects or trees) and comes back as an echo that the bat uses to tell where the objects are by nothing the time that it takes for the echo to return. This is called "echolocation".

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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.


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