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Old 08-07-2019, 10:56 AM
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Can bats fly from the ground?


My sister said she saw a bat on the ground in our driveway and when she got closer to it, it took off in the air and flew past her. I told her it was probably a bird, because I thought bats need to drop off from a high place to fly. Can bats takeoff from the ground?
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:04 AM
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A casual check of YouTube finds examples of bats doing exactly that.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:11 AM
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If any bat that ended up on the ground was stuck there forever, the ground would be covered by bats. Since this is not the case, I think we can say that bats are able to take off from the ground.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by TroutMan View Post
If any bat that ended up on the ground was stuck there forever, the ground would be covered by bats. Since this is not the case, I think we can say that bats are able to take off from the ground.
Well, potentially the bats could climb things until they reached sufficient altitude, if they were required to do so.

Our walls would be covered in bats, in that case.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:18 AM
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It is one of those answers that isn't great. Some can and some can't and some only if very motivated. Even those that can, will try to shuffle to something they can climb so they can use their normal take-off method.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:15 PM
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I have had to remove quite a few bats from my old house over the years. My usual method is to catch them in a long handled net, take them outside, and dump them on the ground. They have always successfully taken off from the ground.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:18 PM
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Funny thing. A bat ended up in my bedroom the night before last. I caught him with a fishing net, took him outside and untangled him. As soon as he was free of the netting, off he went.

So I would say, in my limited (but very hands on) experience. Yes.
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Old 08-09-2019, 04:38 AM
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What’s creepy is they can retract their wings so they look like a brown mouse crawling on the ground, then all of a sudden they take flight.
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Old 08-09-2019, 05:01 AM
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you should of seen my grandmas learning to pounce 6-month-old kitten when she found out that the mouse that she was stalking had wings after a near miss .... it wrecked her worldview for a while .....
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Old 08-10-2019, 01:44 PM
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Okay then follow up question. How worried should we be about rabies? If it was a bat and it flew from the ground, it didn't touch her at all as it flew away and this happened right around dawn in the morning, is it normal that a bat would be on the ground? She's not worried at all. I'm a huge hypochondriac and am myself worried that a couple of hours later when I went outside myself the bat might have still been around lurking and bit me without my knowing it. My sister insists it flew away. Am I just letting the fear of rabies get to me?
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:38 PM
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Yes.
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveisoverthere View Post
Okay then follow up question. How worried should we be about rabies? If it was a bat and it flew from the ground, it didn't touch her at all as it flew away and this happened right around dawn in the morning, is it normal that a bat would be on the ground? She's not worried at all. I'm a huge hypochondriac and am myself worried that a couple of hours later when I went outside myself the bat might have still been around lurking and bit me without my knowing it. My sister insists it flew away. Am I just letting the fear of rabies get to me?
There's no risk of rabies unless it bit her. Also, being on the ground isn't that weird. A bat flying is kind of like a person walking... they don't do it all the time, and hanging from the rafters isn't always an option.
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveisoverthere View Post
Okay then follow up question. How worried should we be about rabies? If it was a bat and it flew from the ground, it didn't touch her at all as it flew away and this happened right around dawn in the morning, is it normal that a bat would be on the ground? She's not worried at all. I'm a huge hypochondriac and am myself worried that a couple of hours later when I went outside myself the bat might have still been around lurking and bit me without my knowing it. My sister insists it flew away. Am I just letting the fear of rabies get to me?
Some kinds of bats may land on the ground to catch insect prey. If the bat flew away without touching your sister, obviously it didn't bite her. It would not have been "lurking around" in daylight, and unless you are pathologically oblivious as well as insensitive to pain there's absolutely no way you could have been bitten without knowing it. (Vampire bats, which don't occur in the US, may sneak up on and bite sleeping humans, but I trust you didn't fall asleep in your driveway.) Bats are no more prone to rabies than other warm-blooded mammals, and rabid bats rarely become aggressive. (This said, a bat on the ground - or for that matter any bat - should not be touched.)
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:38 AM
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bats rarely become aggressive.
Unless they witness the murder of their parents.
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:09 AM
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Some bat species in New Zealand can even burrow. If they can burrow, they can certainly take off from the ground.

Quote:
The two mystacinid bats, named the Greater (Mystacina robusta) and Lesser (M. tuberculate) Short-tailed Bats, are the most terrestrial of all the 950 or so bat species in the world. They spend much time at night running up tree trunks and along branches or burrowing in the leaf-litter and humus on the forest floor searching for food. They also burrow into rotten logs and trees to excavate their own roosts or use seabird burrows as both roosts and feeding sites.
http://www.batcon.org/resources/medi...at_article/228
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:19 AM
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My understanding is that most species can take off from the ground, but Mexican Freetails are an exception, and must climb a handy tree, etc if they end up on the ground.

This was told to me by a Park Service Docent at Carlsbad Caverns National Park....not a biologist, but still someone motivated to check their information. It was conveyed in the context of why there is no bat colony in "New Cave": There was once a large population of bats in that cave, but they filled the floor with guano to the extent that they no longer had enough room to preform a takeoff maneuver from the cave ceiling.

If you ever get to Carlsbad Caverns, the hike and primitive tour of New Cave is definatly a must-see.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:05 PM
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OTTOMH cuz I don't feel like trying to find the right books on my shelf or in my backpack.

I love bats. I have many books on them. I have one preserved in a jar of formaldehyde and one in polyurethane. I have a bat detector (It listens for ultrasonic calls and converts them to human-audible clicks). That being said-

The consensus in this thread is correct. Some bats (vampire bats spring to mind. They have femurs that are unusually large and thick for bats) are very good at leaping into the air from the ground. Other bats must climb to a high place and drop down to begin flight.

Re Rabies

Don't worry about it.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:36 PM
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What if the bat is on a treadmill?
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevbo View Post
<snip>

If you ever get to Carlsbad Caverns, the hike and primitive tour of New Cave is definatly a must-see.
Agreed!
well worth the effort. You must sign up, online, well in advance to get a slot on the guided tours. Like a couple of months in advance during the busy season.

Carlsbad Caverns in general is very worth the visit. Motel rooms in Carlsbad are pricey though. Staying one town over adds an hour to the drive to the caverns, but saves a lot of money. Of course, if time is important, stay at White city. The motel there is clean and very convenient. And priced to match.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:25 PM
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What if the bat is on a treadmill?
Unless it's one of those weird wheeled bats, that should just make it easier by giving it some initial airspeed.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:35 PM
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Unless it's one of those weird wheeled bats, that should just make it easier by giving it some initial airspeed.
I'm not sure that's true. This one runs for a while on its treadmill and never manages to fly.

(I feel like people will either think this is adorable or be freaked out, with little middle ground.)

ETA: I get the joke. On review, my post sounded more serious than intended.

Last edited by TroutMan; 08-14-2019 at 07:36 PM.
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