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Visit the Bat Caves in Uganda, Home to Hundreds of Pythons

bat-caves-ugandaBats are mammals and they are the only mammals on earth that can fly because their front limbs form webbed wings while the hind limbs are legs. They are capable of sustaining flight for a reasonable distance. Bats aren’t exactly like birds because they don’t flap their entire fore limb but only that long spread out digit which is covered with that really thin membrane. They are very tiny in size which is why they are able to fly; worth seeing on a Uganda Birding Safari.

Bats have a very poor vision especially during day time which is why they are only active during the night which makes them nocturnal animals.

Bats are categorized into two types which are the micro/insectivorous bats and mega also called the fruit bats, and then these are further divided into so many other types of bats

Where and How Bats Live

Bats can be found anywhere in the world except places where it is really cold. They fly from one place to another and for that reason, they play a very important role in the process of pollination and also dispersing of fruit seeds especially the tropical fruits. Bats are insectivores which means them so important because they feed on insects and pests thereby reducing on the use of pesticides. They are also frugivores therefore they also feed on fruits, they also feed on fish, feed on small animals, among others. This makes them omnivores in nature.

During your Safari in Uganda, you can find bats in different areas across the country however the most notable place where you can find plenty of them is in the bat cave found in Queen Elizabeth national park. This cave is located within Maramagambo forest and there are plenty of bats tucked underneath this Forest’s canopy inside this well protected bat Cave. Within the cave is a viewing room from where you can watch the bats. This viewing room was built using funds from (CDC) Center for Disease Control and it was set up mainly for study purposes and this means that the visitors can watch and observe how these bats and the pythons live alongside each other especially since these serpents prey on bats.

Life, reproduction and population

Bats have a very long life span than you can imagine. They can lie for 20-30 years if their life span is not cut short by human activity especially since the humans are their main predators.

Bats breeding during a particular period of time and when they conceive, they get a gestation period of 100-125 days only after which they give birth to 1- 3 litters at a time but it is usually just one therefore this highly depends on bat species and environment it is living in for instance availability of food. After birth, the mother cares for its little one until it is almost an adult because it cannot fly before its wings have developed fully.

Female bats have strategies they use to control pregnancy because they need to give birth under very conducive environment for example when there is plenty of food. For this reason, some bats delay the fertilization process by keeping the sperm inside their reproductive system for months until when the time is right. Other bat species delay the implantation which means, the egg is fertilized right after mating but it is kept in the reproductive system up to a time when the external conditions are favorable and the mother thinks it’s the right time to give birth and raise an offspring. The 3rd strategy involves fertilization and implantation occurring but the development is put on hold until the right time. This stored egg will be supplied with nutrients and oxygenated blood so as to stay alive

These strategies led to slow births among bats thus the main population check among bats.

Their Threat to Human Life

They are a threat in a sense that they transmit various diseases to human kind. this is so because they are basically natural reservoirs for viruses  and because they are very mobile, they lead to a broad distribution unfortunately, very are very immune to all the pathogens that they carry around the world.

Humans can contract diseases from bats through an accidental skin to skin contact with a bat, when they interact with our live stock or when animals scavenge on the bat’s carcass.

For more information about the wildlife in Uganda, visit ugandasafariguide.com