Why do bats sleep up side down?
Someone once told me it is because their legs are two short for them to stand and ergo cannot hold them in a sleep-position.
True? Or is someone pulling my leg. I enjoyed immensely all the “bat facts” Amazing creatures!
There are many reasons that have lead to the most common way that bats sleep as being upside down. It mostly has to do with how they’ve evolved. For insect eating bats, it probably happened like this…
At first, these bats probably fed mostly on ground dwelling insects without the use of wings or the need to fly. This could have happened during the day or at night. At some point they probably figured out there were a lot of bugs on trees so they started climbing to forage. This led to strong, claw like feet with “hooks” they could use to hold secure themselves. Additionally, there are many insects which fly and bats probably learned that if they jumped, they could catch more food. So their bodies were probably changing as they evolved to allow the bats which could jump and grasp things well as being the ones that lived and prospered over the years.
Eventually, they must have started to jump out of trees or off ledges to grab a meal (insects flying away) and over time, bats with any resemblance to wings must have thrived and done better. This no doubt allowed more of these bats to prosper and eventually contributed to them having fully functioning wings like they do now. Yes, this probably took many years. Probably thousands if not longer, but that’s evolution.
During all this time it was also learned by bats that most insect activity occurs during the night. So it only makes sense that feeding at night would be more productive but in doing so, the function of their eyes changed. No longer did they need light so during the day, they started to seek out dark places to rest. Consequently some of these places turned out to be caves and basically any where they could be “up” and “under” something that would shield them from direct sunlight. And since they had feet on their bottom (strong, grasping feet), it only made sense that if they were to keep themselves out of harms way from land dwelling animals, they would have to use their feet to secure themselves someplace up high. Now whether they figured this out or this behavior evolved is subject to interpretation. Regardless, the fact remains that this is what they do today.
Since caves don’t have nearly as many places to make a nest like trees do, “nest making” never really caught on for bats. But their claw like feet, already sharp and strong from grabbing insects all the time, ended up being ideal for using them to clamp down on most anything they could where they found shelter. Since they these places were at the “top” of any given air space (the caves), there was no room above it so resting like a bird upright wasn’t an option. Instead the only option was to hang down, which is where the only space could be found, and because the ones that did this were able to prosper and survive, it became the normal way for bats to rest.
So in summary they don’t hang upside down because of how they are built. In reality, they have evolved over time to be built better and better at hanging upside down because over time, their species learned that when in this position up high in a dark cave, there were able to keep themselves and their families safe from predators.
Hope this helps answer your question and we’re glad you enjoyed all our other BAT FACTS. And if you ever decide to get a bat house, make sure you check out our selection. We have a great number of BAT HOUSE KITS, CEDAR SMALL BAT HOUSES as well as custom designed BAT HOUSES which come in massive sizes so I’m sure we’ll have one that can fit your need and budget.