Why do bats sleep upside down?

The primary reason is that bat wings are much weaker than birds, which means they can’t lift their body vertically like sparrows. As a result, bats need to enter the gliding position first then flap their wings to generate thrust, in much the same way of airplanes. If they want to take off from the ground, they need to run like swans swan take off, which is very clumsy. While taking off from above is rather straight forward, because they can enter the gliding position directly with the help of gravity, which enabled them to take off instantly like sparrows (very ingenious, isn’t it?). BTW, eliminating the need of running also simplified their legs, which saved much weight.

Hanging upside down is much easier than standing, because hanging is a mechanically stable position. While standing, their legs need to maintain their balance all the time, so their legs can’t be too weak. This again simplified their legs, and saved the weight. Another thing is that hanging is less energy consuming than standing. Although sounds not much, it should be noted that bats are the only flying animals that have hibernation, so saving energy is always more favorable.

Although hanging upside down confers many advantages, they are not without cost. Here are several cons and the ways by which bats overcome them.

Landing. Landing is not trivial for flying animals, but landing upside down is even more tricky, especially landing on the ceiling instead of landing on branches, where there is a space constraint. Yet bats came up with their own solution. Bats are unique among all flying animals as their wings are supported by four fingers plus two legs, which have 25 movable joints to control the wing shape. Such design made bats the most agile flyers ever (even taking into account the extinct pterosaurs), which enabled them to land upside down with ease, even for the largest flying foxes How Do Bats Land Upside Down? | National Geographic & Falling with Style: Bats Perform Complex Aerial Rotations by Adjusting Wing Inertia

Taking a dump. Although being a little shy to talk about, pooping is a serious problem for animals that rest upside down, because it’s not funny to have those mess flowing over your body. A surprising fact is that bats are not as messy as we thought. Bats have thumbs extending out of their wings, which act as hooks to allow them to hang upright for a while, until their business is done, without worrying messing on their fur. Biology - All About Bats

Size. Although hanging saved a lot of trouble, it also put a constraint on their size, because getting too large will make it difficult to find a place to land. While OTOH, ground landing flyers don’t have such problem at all. As a result, the largest flying fox spans 1.8 meters, and weights 1.6 kg. For comparison, the largest pterosaur spans 12 meters, and weights over 200 kg; the largest swan spans 3 meters, and weights 13 kg.

So although hanging has a lot of advantages, it also comes with costs. However, the unique structure of bats makes them ideally suitable for this lifestyle, which should explain why bats are the only flyers choosing this way.

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Have you ever wondered why bats sleep and rest upside down? Was this information new to you?

#animals #Quora


What are your thoughts on this subject?
Bob Gorby
This info Drove me batty
Aug 6, 2018 4:53PM
faith f
When I was young my dad caught a bat and put it in a cage. After two days it got out and flew away. I won't tell you how it got out. :)
Aug 10, 2019 8:33PM
I love bats. My hubby got the plans to build 'Bat Houses'. He built several & we enjoyed watching them fly in the evening catching bugs. There were many more after we put the pool in that attracted the bats because the pool attracted the bugs. Lots of fun entertainment!!
Jul 19, 2021 5:18PM
Robin ainley
Great information. Never thought about it.
Apr 6, 2020 6:28PM
Norbie Warren
Great article, I love bats
Nov 16, 2019 5:20PM
I love learning new things
May 22, 2019 10:22AM
robert karel
To the Batcave!
Mar 23, 2019 5:31PM
If it wasn't for bats, we would not have Batman....
Feb 25, 2019 5:36PM
Marie Paterson-van Cittert
Fascinating just love bats. Such amazing creatures
Jan 24, 2019 5:23PM
Ruth Binder Elkins
As an editor, this would have been more credible if the grammar and tense were correct!
Nov 24, 2018 7:48PM
👍 Learned something new!
Nov 18, 2018 11:09AM
Cheryl McMeekin
Very interesting.
Oct 31, 2018 11:37PM
Jorge Yu
Interesting really
Oct 30, 2018 6:09PM
Noly Cabildo
I just learned this info about bats tonight.
Oct 24, 2018 10:05PM
Daniel Maguire
Joey Blanco, Actually they have a locking mechanism in their claws that locks up when they let their weight hang on those claws. Thus they do not have to expend any energy or strength to hang upside down while they sleep. Then when they eat to fly away Thu van relax their feet and they start to fall. Almost immediately their wings can take over and they fly off into the night to feast on insects and other very small creatures. They really are wondrous little critters.
Oct 9, 2018 3:58PM
Maureen Whitehall
Without Bats, they say we would not be here.
Sep 30, 2018 5:13PM

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