Animal Activities

Mammal Math Project 

Click here to start looking for species of mammals.  Each time you choose a mammal, scroll down to find the measurements. You may get more meaningful relationships if you select mammals that are related, such as different species of bats or different species of rodents.

Using Word or Excel make a table to record your data.  Write the common names & the scientific names.  Don't forget to label the columns to reflect the choices you made.  Number the table down the side to reflect the number of mammals you want to collect data on.

These tables can then be used to make graphs showing the data you collected about mammals using the charts and graphs wizard.  The x-axis should be labeled Mammal species, and the y-axis should be labeled for the chosen measurements you chose to collect.  Remember measurements are in mm. 

Bat Myths

Myths about bats are found in many human cultures. The ancient Egyptians believed that bats could prevent or cure poor eyesight, toothache, fever, and baldness, and a bat hung over the doorway of a home was thought to prevent the entry of demons that carried these "diseases." Bat gods were important to many pre-Colombian civilizations in central America, and bats have been used in vodoo worship in parts of Africa as well as in many parts of the Caribbean even today. The association of bats with the legend of human vampires has an uncertain origin, but since the time of Cortez and his Conquistadors, peoples of western civilization have linked vampire bats with the legendary "human" vampires of Transylvania. The writings of William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, and others have contributed to legends that cast a veil of fear on people, when they associated bats with graveyards, death, ghosts, and goblins.

To the Chinese, bats are regarded as symbols of happiness and good fortune (health, wealth, serenity, virtue, and long life). At one time Chinese mothers would sew small jade buttons in the shape of a bat on the caps of their babies, a custom believed to impart long life. Ancient and modern-day art objects, tapestries, Imperial robes, home furnishings and the like often include bats as part of the motif.

Bat Origami Click link to view instructions. Best printed in color.


Bat Facts

  • Bats eat all sorts of foods. As mentioned earlier, vampire bats feed on blood. Fishing bats feed on fish. Flying foxes and other feed on fruit. Some bats even feed on small mammals and reptiles. But by far the most common food source for bats is insects.

  • Two-thirds of bats are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are awake to feed at night. Because these bats must locate their food in the dark, they must rely on means other than eyesight to locate their prey.

  • Most of the nocturnal bats are insectivores. In fact, the Myotis bat, a bat common to Texas can eat up to 1200 insects in a single hour. Thus bats are very beneficial to humans.

  • They utilize a process called echolocation to find their food. Drop some water in a bowl to let them see how the drop sends ripples out.

  • They send out a series of high-pitched clicks or chirps, which ripple out much like the water does. When an object interrupts the sound waves, it is reflected back to the bat. Bats use their elaborate facial structures, such as the ears on the Ghost-faced bat, the horseshoe structure on the horseshoe bat, and the flap of skin on the Leaf-chinned bat to capture the sound waves. Through a combination of hearing and feeling the vibrations bats are able to determine what the objects are, They can then use this information to navigate around stationary objects, or to capture prey.


Echolocation Game

Game Objectives:
This game will introduce kids to the nature of echolocation. It will demonstrate the difficulties of blind navigation, and it will teach them to appreciate the keen hunting ability of bats.

Materials Needed:
Large playing field, one blindfold (Or two blindfolds, if playing with a large
group that can be split into two)

Have the children stand in a close circle (facing in), with a distance of approximately two feet between each child.

Game Instructions:

  1. Read the Echolocation Facts Above

  3. This game is best played by a large group of kids.Find a large open space either outdoors or indoors.

  5. Most of the children will form a large circle to be the “trees” in the forest.

  7. Designate 2-6 children to be “insects” and 1 student to be the “bat.” The bat and the insects go to the center of the circle and are blindfolded.

  9. The objective of the game is for the “bat” to catch the “insects.” Because of the blindfolds this is a slow walking game...Everyone should walk heel to toe and tag gently!

  11. On the signal, the bat and insects will walk in any direction for 15 seconds. The trees stay still but must say “tree” to warn the bat and moths when they come close.

  13. The bat walks around making bat chirp and trying to tag the moths. The trees and moths stay still but must respond to the bat’s call. The trees say “tree” and the “insects” say a SOFTER chirp to simulate being the echo the bat is using to find them!

  15. Once a “insect” is tagged, he/she is “eaten” and goes to join the “trees.”

  17. Allow 2 minutes for each bat to catch his/her preys. Rotate the roles after each turn.

  19. Now a twist to the game to demonstrate the insect’s adaptation: continue to play the game with the same rules. But after echoing a chirp, the insects can squat down to avoid being tagged by the bat. However, they must stand up after a silent count to 10. See how this changes the game