Bats are one of the most misunderstood species, getting the short end of the stick over the past several centuries. However, if you take the time to get to know them, you'll find that they're actually pretty spectacular. Bats are the only mammal capable of true and sustained flight, thanks to a thin webbed membrane between their digits. They're extremely varied in size and appearance, with over 1,400 subspecies spanning the globe. Bats are split up into two main categories, the fruit eating megabats and the echo-locating microbats. Megabats mainly consume a diet of fruits, flower nectar and plant matter, whereas microbats primarily feed on insects.
The smallest bat species is the Kitti's hog-nosed bat, which comes from Western Thailand and Southeast Myanmar. This bat has a wingspan of six inches and weighs between 2 and 2.5 grams, making it arguably the world's smallest mammal. The largest bats are called megabats and are often referred to as flying foxes. These bats live in tropical locations throughout Asia, the Pacific Islands, Australia and Africa, with a wingspan of up to 5-ft-7 and a weight of 3.5 lbs.
One of the most culturally referenced bats is the vampire bat, which is comprised of three species that feed on blood: the common vampire bat, the hairy-legged vampire bat and the white-winged vampire bat. Vampire bats hunt their prey at night and use thermoception to find their host. They're native to the Americas and can be found in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina.
Vampire bats were named after the blood sucking creatures and for centuries, they've been synonymous with each other. The first known association between vampires and bats was in Bram Stoker's novel, "Dracula." Interestingly, the novel made such an impression that the anti-coagulant in vampire bat saliva was named draculin after the titular character.
Now that you've learned a few new things about bats, you're ready to see some of our favorite bat tattoos. Take a peek at some of the best bat tattoos from Instagram in the gallery below, then let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section on social media.