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Bat Hibernation Facts

The mere sight of a bat can cause fear in some people. Bats are misunderstood and interesting creatures that fly at night. They sleep during the day and, in some cases, hibernate during the winter.

Migration vs. Hibernation

Some species of bats, such as the little brown bat, hibernate. Others, like the silver-haired bat, migrate to warmer climates. There are also species that migrate to warmer areas then go into hibernation.

Habitat

Most bats that hibernate during the winter spend their long sleep in caves or mines. Bats may also seek shelter in homes or barns then enter a state of hibernation.

Bodily Functions

During hibernation, a bat's metabolic activities are reduced, so its body temperature is reduced and its heart rate slows. According to the Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology, a bat's heart rate during hibernation can be as little as 20 beats per minute, compared with almost 600 beats per minute in an alert but resting state.

Nourishment

A hibernating bat must rely on its body's fat reserve for nourishment. A hibernating bat can survive on a few grams of fat for a period of five to six months, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Significance

Bats can lose from 1/4 to 1/2 of their body weight during hibernation. If a bat is disturbed two or three times during hibernation, it can expend too much energy and die.

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About the Author

Darlene Zagata has been a professional writer since 2001, specializing in health, parenting and pet care. She is the author of two books and a contributing author to several anthologies. Zagata attended the Laurel Business Institute to study in the medical assistant/secretarial program. She earned her associate degree through the U.S. Career Institute.