Bats, what’s all that comes in your mind, blood, caves, vampires, right? No, you’ve got it wrong. Imagine tiny, non-blood sucking, not-blind bats.
What do they look like?
Also known as stout-mouthed bat and hog-nosed bat among many other names they are called with. Scientists call it Craseonycteris Thonglongyai.
These bats weigh about 2 grams and their size is comparable to a bumblebee, hence the name, it is about 1 to 1.5 inches long with a wingspan of about 6 to 7 inches gearing these tiny bats to fly as fast as 100 miles per hour. They are estimated to live between 5 to 10 years. To bust yet another myth, this species of bats are crepuscular, i.e, active during both dawn and dusk.
They are recognized as the world’s smallest mammals and bats with a total population of 4000 individuals only.
Their Coexistence with Other Creatures
These near-threatened species of extremely tiny bats are natives of western Thailand and southeast Myanmar. They occupy limestone caves along rivers.
Even though very little is known about Bumblebee bats, we know that they are insectivores and eat prodigious amounts of insect pests. They generally go for small spiders, flies, wasps, and bark lice. Their hunting techniques include echolocation in which bats emit high-pitched sounds that bounce off the objects.
Contrary to the myths they are not completely blind. The creatures above them in the food chain are birds, snakes, squirrels, cats, and yeah bat-eating humans, they are consumed in Laos, and other humans who hunt them.
These bats are social, kinda, because they live in colonies of 10 to 500 individuals, unlike other bat species who refrain from crowding together.
This species of bat was discovered by scientists in 1974 and ever since they have been in the spotlight as they are believed to undergo speciation due to geographically separated populations in Thailand and Myanmar. As eventful as it can be to think about Bumblebee Bats, here’s a fun fact that this single species alone represents an entire family of bats, the Craseonycteridae, which split from the rest, some 33 million years ago.
Speciation can only take place if the species continues to exist.
Human disturbances have affected the bat population though monks have become the cave protector keeping away the rest of the harmful people and elements.
Little is known about the population in Burma but in Thailand, they are thought to be at risk of extinction. Bumblebee Bats are legally protected in Thailand but much more is needed to be done to adequately conserve the species. Our efforts include the management of its roosting caves as well as broader protection of its foraging areas.
Let’s try and do all we can for this little bat species.