In Belize, some 75 species of bats account for about 58% of the mammal population, thriving on the many types of fruits, flowers, insects and other food sources to be found throughout the country. And, fitting right in with Belize’s biodiversity and multicultural human population, the variety of bat species is impressive, with Argentine Brown Bats, Southern Yellow Bats, Northern Yellow Bats, Little Yellow-shouldered Bats, and Red Bats as well as Great, Pygmy and Toltec Fruit Eating bats, Hairy Big Eyed Bats, Lesser and Greater Doglike Bats, and fifty shades of Naked Back and Big Naked Back Bats, to name just a very few.
These airborne environmentalists work the night shift to keep our rainforests healthy. They are the most populous mammals on the planet and one of nature’s greatest success stories, and depending on your perspective are either cute vegetarian flying foxes or scary Bela Lugosi vampires. There are more than 1100 different kinds of bats sharing the planet with us.
All those different types of bats share one thing in common; their forelimbs have evolved into wings, making them the only mammals in the world naturally capable of flight (sure, Australia has sugar gliders and there are lemurs, flying squirrels and other tree dwellers that have learned to glide, but bats are the only mammals specifically built to fly).
Many different plants depend on bats for pollination. In fact, in Belize there are flowers specially evolved to accept the long snout of certain bats, which are their only source of pollination. Also, bats are essential in spreading many types of fruits, nuts and other vegetation through their nutrient-rich droppings. Consider that, and bat’s’ importance in pest control, and you get an idea how valuable they are. One cave system in Mexico supports a population of some 20 -25 million bats who each day consume megatons, of insects, according to Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education (BFREE) biologist Dan Dourson.
Now, imagine what would happen if bats weren’t around to pollinate flowers and reduce insects and you get an idea to how important they are to the elegant, intricate and fragile balance of nature.
Some Interesting Bat Facts (with thanks to Wildlife Belize.com)
BAT CAVE - Tour description - This is a 4 hour tour in the cave, located just 10 minutes from the famous Xunantunich Mayan ruins. This cave is home to dozens of bat species. One of these species is the ghost-faced bat, which can be found in this cave.
NOCTILIONIDAE BULLDOG BATS
Bulldog Bats Noctilionidae - Bull-dog or mastiff bats are medium-sized bats, often brightly colored. The region around the mouth is distinctive. The lips are full and form cheek pouches, in which the bats store food as they feed while flying. The tail of bulldog bats runs through the uropatagium for about half the length of the membrane, then exits dorsally, and the terminal part of the tail is free. The feet and claws range from relatively large (Noctilio albiventris) to relatively enormous (Noctilio leporinus) in size, and the legs are proportionately longer than in most other bats. The ears are moderately large and a tragus is present. Bulldog bats have a pungent odor, described by some as "fishy.
Most Bulldog Bats feed only on insects. The only Bulldog Bat found in Belize, Noctilio leporinus, takes fish, frogs, and crustaceans as well. To capture fish, these bats use their echolocation to locate exposed fins or ripples made by fish swimming near the surface. They then drag their claws through these ripples. Their hind claws are unusually large and sharp and serve as efficient gaffs. Once out of the water, the fish is carried to a perch, where it is eaten by the bat. Noctilio leporinus may also capture insects and crustaceans on the surface of the water.
These bats usually roost near water, often in hollow trees or in deep cracks in rocks.
MOLOSSIDAE FREE-TAILED BATS
MORMOOPIDAE LEAF-CHINNED BATS
NATALIDAE FUNNEL-EARED BATS
Funnel-eared Bat Natalidae - Natalus mexicanus, the Mexican funnel-eared bat, is the only member of Natalidae that is found in Belize. They are aerial insectivores that appear to be specialists in feeding on spiders. All of these bats have funnel-shaped ears and long, slender hind legs.
PHYLLOSTONIDEA LEAVE-NOSED BATS
Trent S. Turley
My name is Trenton S. Turley, and I am a Belizean citizen who has now been living in the country of Belize for the past 15 years. I am also an environmental activist. Our family moved to Belize, when I was 8 years old. I speak English, Spanish, Kriol and American Sign Language. I have a true love for the eco-system of Belize, with regards to preserving this beautiful countries resources.
I'm now a licensed Tour Guide
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Is located on the island of Ambergris Caye, directly across from the Belize Barrier Reef, off the mainland coast of Belize. The property is nestled in a cluster of Australian Pine trees, backed to a littoral jungle, and surrounded by tropical gardens. It's about a one minute walk from the property to the beach, and a 10-15 minute drive from the island airstrip to the property.
We offer one bedroom suites (455 s.f.) of living area to include: livingroom, kitchenette, private bathroom and bedroom.
We are also about a one minute walk from one of the best restaurants on the island serving (breakfast, lunch & dinner). Within walking distance you can find:
(3) blocks is Robyn's BBQ
(4) blocks is 2 fruit stands
(5) blocks local grocery store
IF YOU'RE COMING TO BELIZE TO...............
If you're coming to Belize to dive the Blue Hole, descend the shelf walls at Turneffe, snorkel the Barrier Reef, explore Mayan ruins, rappel into a cave, kayak along the river through caves, zip line through jungle tree tops, hike through a cave to see an ancient human skeleton, swim with sharks, listen to Howler Monkey's, hold a boa constrictor, feed a jaguar, horseback ride through the jungle, canoe through a cave, rappel down a waterfall, sail around an island, enjoy cocktails & dinner to a sunset, climb 130' feet to the top of a Mayan ruin, rip up the jungle trails on an ATV, float through a series of caves on a tube, and sip on a rum punch.....
then this is the place for you.
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10 Coconut Dr.
San Pedro, Belize
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