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Image of wild rice in canning jars.

Night Fliers

Unheard and seldom seen by people, bats are flying in the dark.

by Christine Petersen

Cree-ee-eek! Peep! Bzzzzz! A spring night is full of sounds. As darkness falls, frogs begin to sing from ponds. Flying squirrels skitter up tree trunks, chirping. Beetles buzz and mosquitoes hum. The voices of bats also ring out across the night sky, but our human ears cannot detect their high-pitched calls.

Watch the shadowy edge where treetops brush the sky to glimpse these nocturnal mammals. Bats aren't afraid of the light or harmed by it, but they have practical reasons for being creatures of the night. Many food sources are available at night. Bats fly under cover of darkness to keep from being hunted by other predators, though owls are skillful nighttime hunters of bats.


More than 1,200 bat species live around the world in all kinds of habitats, from deserts to tundra to rainforests. Minnesota has seven bat species, which live all around the state. Look for them zipping through beams of streetlights, dipping over lakes and streams, and swooping above fields and through forests.

To read this entire Young Naturalists story, download the PDF below.

Teachers Resources

Full color PDF of Night Fliers. Teacher's guide for Ask a Rock photo of soil

Get the latest information on white-nose syndrome and what it means for Minnesota's bat species.

Full-color PDF of
"Night Fliers."
This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Teachers Guide for "Night Fliers" This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.


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