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Bats are well-known flying mammals. You’ve probably heard a lot about these critters, except whether they can walk on the ground. This article answers the question in detail by highlighting the biological features of the critters.
As flying mammals, the bodies of bats are adapted for flying. The wing membrane of bats is attached to their leg bones. The wingspan of the critters could thus be determined by the length of the leg bones, as well as the extent of the wing membrane.
Generally, the bodily features develop and become more adapted to a purpose as they are used. This is applicable to humans and animals. For example, muscles enlarge based on the way they are used. For bats, this plays out as the leg bones being more adapted for flying than walking. Yes, bats have leg bones that are supposed to be for walking. However, because the bodies of the critters are more adapted for flying, they apply their leg bones more for flying than walking.
The bodies of bats are also adapted for crawling in small spaces. Bats have knees that point outward and backward. This design allows the bat to control its wings effectively while crawling in tiny spaces such as walls and ceilings. However, this design is not especially suited to allow the critters to walk on the ground.
To answer the question of whether bats can walk on the ground: yes, bats can walk on the ground. However, because their legs are not well adapted for walking, bats walk very clumsily. Many of the bat species do not walk because of the natural disadvantages they possess. The species of bats that do not walk clumsily have specifically adapted to walking. Such species are the vampire bat and the lesser short-tailed bat. Both species of bats fly like every other bat. As opposed to other bats, they walk on the ground too, in a manner that is not clumsy.
Lesser short-tailed bats are adapted to walking because their diet consists of plant material. Thus, these bats walk on the ground to hunt for food. The biological features of lesser short-tailed bats are also designed for walking. For example, the hind limbs are well developed. The critters also have talons on their claws and can fold their wings protectively. It is noteworthy that lesser short-tailed bats only choose to walk when they are sure of minimal predator threats.
Vampire bats are mostly carnivorous and apply their walking skills in hunting for food. The vampire bat flies close to the prey and then quietly walks towards it before attacking. It is particularly noteworthy that these bats are both excellent walkers and runners. They also have very strong wings.
In conclusion, bats can walk on the ground as well as fly in the air. However, most species are much better flyers than walkers. Bats without the enabling features walk clumsily. Bats with well- developed features that support walking are both excellent walkers and flyers. The vampire bat is also an excellent runner, in addition to walking and flying.