Chiroptera, Digital Collage, 2022

Bats are mammals belonging to the order Chiroptera, a name of Greek origin meaning "hand-wing," which accurately describes the animal's most unusual anatomical feature. The order is divided into two suborders, the Megachiroptera, consisting of a single family, the flying foxes and their Old World fruit and flower eating relatives, and the Microchiroptera, composed of the rest of the bat families, some 17 in all. Even though the names imply otherwise, not all Megabats are larger than Microbats. (1)
There are over 1,400 species of bats worldwide. Bats can be found on nearly every part of the planet except in extreme deserts and polar regions. The difference in size and shape are equally impressive. Bats range in size from the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat (also called the Bumblebee Bat) that weighs less than a penny — making it the world’s smallest mammal — to the flying foxes, which can have a wingspan of up to 6 feet. (2)
Bumblebee Bat - Photo Credit: Our Breathing Planet on Flickr
(1) “Bat Facts.” Smithsonian Institution,
(2) “13 Awesome Facts about Bats.” U.S. Department of the Interior, 20 Oct. 2021,

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