Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello Bumblebee Bat - World's Smallest Mammal - Boys LOVE this one!

Bumblebee Bat
Insects and creepy crawlies make my son tick, so you can just imagine how thrilled he was to learn about the Bumblebee Bat.  I actually had fun discovering the facts about this little creature myself.  

It goes by two names; 1) the most popular - Bumblebee Bat, because it is approximately the size of a bumblebee, and 2) Kitti's Hog-Nosed Bat - because it was first discovered by Thai biologist, Kitti Thonglongya in 1973 and named after him.  If you look closely, you can see the bat's nose resembles that of a hog or pig.

This furry being weighs approximately 2 grams and is considered the worlds smallest mammal.  It is a little over inch long and has a wing-span of nearly 7 inches!   There is a web of skin between it's legs that helps it fly.   Their flight mimics that of a butterfly and they usually come out at dusk, where they begin to forage insects both in flight or from foliage.  But where can you find these little beasties?

Bumblebee Bat on Fiona Reid Illustrator
You will only find the Bumblebee Bat in Thailand or Myanmar.  They live in limestone caves and can be found in groups from 10 to 100.  For a little thing, they do like their space.  When they spread out in the caves they give each other enough space so that they are not touching each other -- which, funny enough, is how I have to keep my children.  

There's not much information on the reproduction area, but it is believed the females give birth to only 1 baby a year.  The Bumblebee Bats greatest peril is the annual burning that takes place in the forests near their caves.  This, along with it's low birth rate can give us an idea of why this charming fellow is on the endangered species list.

If your son likes bats, you may be intersted in, Hello, Bumblebee Bat  by Darrin Lunde.  The book poses a question on the left hand side, such as:  Bumblebee Bat how do you see? the question is answered on the right by the bumblebee bat with, "I see by hearing".  It is available from Powell's Books.

You can find more information on the Bumblebee Bat on the EDGE (Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) website.

Also, you may enjoy The Animal Files and  Fiona Reid Illustrator for information and wonderful photos of animals.

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