May 19-Sept. 16, 2018
$7.50 adults, ($6.50 Fla. residents & seniors), $5 ages 3-17, free to UF students & Museum members
Step inside a Gothic-style castle and experience the true nature of bats! Visitors can match bats with the foods they consume, learn about echolocation, see a simulated bat nursery and discover the areas in which bats live worldwide. Explore hands-on interactives about pollination, flight, seed dispersal, insect control and bats’ extremely sensitive hearing. Examine CT scans and bat specimens from the Florida Museum’s collection and see a model of the new University of Florida Bat Barn, completed in February 2017. Learn how Museum scientists collect and prepare bat specimens and hear about their research. Gain a greater appreciation for the world’s only true flying mammal and the critical role they play in the environment.
- Bats Around the World
Learn about bat diversity with an interactive world map. Visitors can predict and check to see where each species lives with backlit sections revealing the number of species living in an area.
- Bat Prints
Take home a picture of a bat! Metal plates with images and an interesting fact about six separate species are available for guests to make a crayon rubbing of their favorite bat.
- I’m All Ears
‘See’ what being a bat is like! Aim two large bat ears around the room to experience sound through a bat’s ears.
- Echo, Echo
Learn about echolocation with cave shafts. Visitors will have a hands-on demonstration of bats’ personalized sonar system and learn how they measure distances using the delay in their voices returning.
- Feast and Flight
Get an up-close look at the only mammal capable of flight. This interactive element allows guests to see flight acrobatics, feeding behaviors and food sources while being able to freeze or slow the video for a better look.
- The Importance of Being Bats
Learn about the ecological significance of these misunderstood creatures. Interlinked displays will reveal the environmental consequences of a world without bats.
- One Night’s Meal
Just how much does a bat eat in a night? Guests will learn about bats’ huge appetites and have the opportunity to weigh bat models, insects, fruits and nectar on a scale.
- Where Bats Live
Five dioramas reveal bats in many hiding places in their natural habitats.
- Find the Baby Bat
Help a mother bat find her pup using just sound in this interactive maze.
- A Closer Look
Learn about bats inside and out by using a MicroEye microscope to examine their poop, skin and skulls.
- Local Bats
Check out specimens from the museum’s collections and learn about Florida’s 13 native bat species.
- Large Video
See the real world of bats through a 60-inch projection unit. Bat flight, diversity and beauty are depicted in this larger-than-life video.
- Bat Models
Visitors can experience hands-on learning with large models of multiple bat species. Models of bat heads will illustrate the variety and diversity of different species.
- While certain species of squirrels can glide through the air, bats are the only mammals capable of true flight.
- Bats make up a fifth of all mammal species on earth with more than 1,300 species.
- A single brown bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes in just one hour.
- There are only three species of vampire bats – bats that live off the blood of animals – and none are indigenous to the United States.
- Most bats have only one pup a year, making them extremely vulnerable to extinction.
- Due to their high metabolism, bats need to eat their body weight in food every day, with some species eating up to double their weight.
- Bats’ echolocation is so finely tuned, they can detect objects as thin as a human hair.
- Their echolocation works off clicks that the bat emits and the resulting echo. Bats can only listen to the echo of one click at a time. When in the final stages of a hunt, a bat can emit around 200 clicks a second!
- With wingspans up to 6 feet long and weighing over 2 pounds, flying foxes are the largest bats in the world. These gentle giants feed exclusively on fruit, nectar, pollen and blossoms.
- On the other end of the spectrum is Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, also known as the bumblebee bat. It is the world’s smallest mammal and weighs less than a penny.
- The UF bat colony is comprised of mostly Brazilian free-tailed bats, Tadarida brasiliensis, the most common mammal throughout Florida.
- Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, is home to an estimated 1.5 million Brazilian or Mexican free-tailed bats! About 100,000 tourists visit the bridge annually to see North America’s largest urban bat colony.
- It is estimated that bats save the United States agricultural industry up to $53 billion a year in pesticides and damage to crops.
- During the Civil War, guano (bat droppings) was used to make gunpowder.
- The tube-lipped nectar bat has the longest tongue, relative to its body size, of any mammal. Their tongue coils up inside their ribcage when not in use.
- More than 300 species of food-producing plants depend on bats for pollination.
- Bats are capable of living more than 25 years in the wild.
Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats was created by Evergreen Exhibitions.