BAT HI RES 3D model
A bat is a mammal in the order Chiroptera. Their most distinguishing feature is that their forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammals in the world naturally capable of flight (though other mammals, such as flying squirrels, gliding flying possums and colugos, can glide for limited distances). The word Chiroptera comes from the Greek words cheir 'hand' and pteron 'wing,' as the structure of the open wing is very similar to an outspread human hand with a membrane (patagium) between the fingers that also stretches between hand and body.
A measure of the success of bats is their estimated total of about 1,100 species of bats worldwide, accounting for about 20 percent of all mammal species. About 70 percent of bats are insectivores. Most of the rest are fructivores, with a few species being carnivorous. Bats are present throughout most of the world, including Alaska.
Bats perform a vital ecological role by pollinating some flowers, and also have an important role in seed dispersal; indeed, many tropical plants are totally dependent on bats. This role explains environmental concerns when a bat is introduced in a new setting. Tenerife provides a recent example with the introduction of the Egyptian fruit bat.
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