Bat Facts | Costa Rica Wildlife Guide
There are more than 100 native bat species in Costa Rica, and they come in a variety of sizes and colors. They range in size from the large Vampyrum spectrum, or false vampire bat, with a wingspan of nearly 3 feet, to the Rhynchonycteris
Vampire bats are a different matter. Although these amazing mammals have been known to adopt orphans and to risk their lives to share food with roost-mates, they have also been of serious concern to Latin American ranchers. This species causes approximately $100 million in damage each year on livestock in Central and South America. Vampire bats land on, or close to, sleeping mammals, preferably cattle. Using two razor-sharp incisors, they will puncture the farm animal, and aided by the glycoprotein in their saliva that keeps blood from clotting will squat beside the wound and lick up the blood while it flows.
Conservation officials and ranchers have made progress in controlling vampire bats where they are a problem, avoiding the needless killing of beneficial species. However, much remains to be done. Vampire bats are only one species of at least 110 in Costa Rica, and humans usually are not at risk of being bitten.
Bats have developed a highly sophisticated sonar system called echolocation. These creatures emit calls that bounce off objects around them and send signals back. As a result, bats can determine how far away an object is, how big it is, and even what texture it might have.
One of the most interesting types of bat, which usually roost near water, is the greater bulldog or fisherman bat. Cheek pouches, pointed ears
Bats are very important as seed dispersers and pollinators. In fact, some plants depend completely on bats as their pollinators. Just after sunset, bats swoop through the air, capturing large amounts of mosquitoes, moths and other insects, lapping up nectar or feeding on fruit.
Header Credit: Gavin Lautenbach