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Sheath-Tailed Bats Sac-Winged Bats and Ghost Bats: Emballonuridae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Greater Sac-winged Bat (saccopteryx Bilineata): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, EMBALLONURIDS AND PEOPLE, THE FIRS


Emballonurids live in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including Mexico, Argentina, Madagascar, and Southeast Asia.

Emballonuridae bats generally live in humid rainforests. These bats tend to roost, rest or settle, in areas that are relatively light compared to what other bat families prefer. Their roosts include the entry areas to caves and other structures, the outside of buildings, hollow trees, and leaves.

Emballonurids eat primarily insects, although they have been seen eating fruit. They generally eat insects while flying, yet some species are known to look for their food along the ground. These bats start foraging, searching for food, relatively early in the day compared to other bats. Some of these bats such as the ghost bats, capture their meals while flying high in the open air. Other bats, such as the proboscis bat, hunt insects above or close to water surfaces.

Because emballonurids prefer roosting in open areas, these bats are among the more common bats for people to spot. They can be seen in trees, on buildings, and at the edges of caves. The social calls they emit are also within human hearing range. Some emballonurids are declining due to human destruction of their natural habitat.

Emballonurids were first recorded in Europe thirty-eight to fifty-four million years ago.

There are several emballonurid species that are endangered or threatened with becoming endangered. The IUCN lists two species as Critically Endangered, facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild; two species as Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild; and ten species as Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

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Animal Life ResourceMammals