Key Bat Terms

Chiroptera – The order of mammals that includes all bats.  The word literally means “hand-wing.”

Colony- A group of bats living together.

Conservation – The official care and protection of natural resources, including wildlife.

Echolocation – The use of reflected sound from an emitter (such as a bat or dolphin) to locate objects.

Endangered –  A species of animal whose number have decreased to the point that they may become extinct.

Guano – Bat droppings.

Hibernation – A state of greatly reduced activity and metabolism produced by the lowering of body temperature.  It occurs in winter, enabling an animal to survive on stored fat reserves until spring.

Habitat – Places where animals live.

Insectivore – Animals that eat insects.

Megachiroptera (megabat) – One of two suborders of chiroptera (bats).  Larger bats found only in Old World Tropical Rainforest.  These fruit eating bats have large eyes and can see in color.   Also known as flying foxes.

Microchiroptera (mirobat) -  One of the two suborders of chiroptera (bats).  These are smaller bats that can be found on every continent except Antarctica.  These bats have small eyes and only see in black and white.  Microbats also have the ability to echolocate.  Most microbats eat insects.  All the bats found in North America are microbats.

Migrate – To move to another region with the change of seasons.

Nocturnal – Animals that are active at night and sleep during the day.

Pollinate – To transfer pollen to the pistil of a flower, resulting in seed production.

Predator – Animals that hunt and eat other animals.

Torpor – A state of reduced activity and metabolism similar to hibernation but not necessarily associated with a particular season.  Many bats can enter torpor to save energy at almost any time.

© 2012 Organization for Bat Conservation