Why Do Bats Sleep Upside Down?
For humans, hanging upside down can quickly become uncomfortable as the blood rushes to our heads. However, one species’ discomfort is another’s contentment. If you’ve ever seen a bat hanging upside down, you may be asking, “How do bats sleep like that?” Believe it or not, it’s their most relaxed position. The same way some people prefer sleeping on their side or on their backs, bats are most comfortable hanging upside down while holding on with their claws. Since bats are compact in size, the heart can easily circulate blood even when upside down. Humans must clench and exert muscle energy to grab onto something, but a bat is the opposite. Their claws are unique in that they don’t use any energy to remain clasped onto an object. Special tendons keep the toes and claws stationary, requiring the bat to relax to hold on. Gravity and its body weight keep it locked into place and ready to rest.
Furthermore, by hanging upside down, bats are in an appropriate position for quick flight takeoff in case of danger or if a food source is present. Unlike birds, bats don’t lift upwards into flight so most bats cannot take off from the ground, but rather must fall two to three feet into flight because of their anatomy. Their wings don’t produce enough lift, and so it is easier for them to fly by launching themselves from a high spot. However, some bats may be better than birds at maneuvering and more study is needed to understand the complexities of bat wing shape and flight.
How Long Do Bats Sleep?
Bats are nocturnal, which means they are active during the night and less active during the day. Bats become active around sunset and leave their roosts to hunt for food. During the daytime, bats typically spend time hanging upside down sleeping, grooming and interacting with other bats.
Bats can remain upside down for long periods of time, including during hibernation periods and even after death. Some bat species can hibernate between five to six months and survive on a small amount of stored body fat.
Where Do Bats Sleep?
Bats sleep and hang out in roosts (e.g., tree hollows or caves) that provide shelter and protection from predators and weather. They are social animals, living in colonies that can consist of 100 to several thousand bats. However, as cities expand into the natural habitats of bats, these animals have adapted to seek shelter inside buildings, attics, abandoned mines and sheds. It isn’t uncommon to find bats in chimneys and attics where they can remain out of sight.
To avoid any unwanted visitors, it is important to help bat-proof your house to prevent them from entering and/or congregating in or around your home. Close any holes that offer wildlife access to the indoors, cap chimneys and fix broken windows using wire mesh, cardboard or whatever material is accessible to you. Remember, bats can squeeze into spaces as small as a quarter of an inch. If you need help keeping bats out or removing any bats that have already made their way in, consider consulting a professional pest control technician for help. Trying to remove bats yourself is never recommended. Most bat species are federally protected and there are state regulations regarding when preventative and exclusion methods can be used. Protect your home and family by contacting Terminix ® today to schedule a free inspection.