Can Bats Walk On The Ground

There are about 1,200 species of bat species known to man. Among these hundreds of species, only two of them can actually walk on ground. They are the Vampire bat and the Burrowing bat, also known as the lesser short-tailed bat.





The Vampire bat is capable of walking on its front and hind limbs at an above average speed. They are excellent walkers and can even sprint. This is because of legs that are somewhat thicker than most bats.

The body of the Burrowing bat is physically adapted for walking. It has claws at the base of its toes, grooves on its feet and also at the elbow joint. These physical features allow the bat to strengthen its wrists and to propel itself into moving forward. The Burrowing bat takes advantage of this singular advantage to forage for food both on the ground and in the air.

Climbing same as walking? They are not quite the same. All bats climb trees with ease. Their thumbs extend out of their wings and a sharp, tiny claw is used to get a firm grip on hard surfaces and climb. This is different from the technique of walking. Climbing for a bat is aimed at attaining a good position before launching into the air.

The inability of other bats to walk is not a defect. Bat bodies are specifically adapted for flying and not for walking on the ground surface. They possess an aerodynamic shape, and have bones that are really light; their wings are covered with merkel cells – cells that are touch sensitive, also found on human fingers.

There are more reasons why a majority of the bat cannot walk.

Their hind limbs are more or less fit for nothing but to hang from trees and bars. And the claws at the tip of their fore and hind limbs are tiny and curved.

The bones of the hind limbs are very thin and weak. They consist of quite a range of fragile bones.

Most animals that walk have knees that face forward. That of bats on the other hand, face backwards. Thus they wouldn’t be able to walk forward, but backwards and without balance.

If any bat ends up on the ground for any reason whatsoever, it would use its front limbs to slowly drag its body along while keeping pressure off the hind legs. From all of these angles, it is easy to deduce that the bat’s limbs are naturally meant for flying as against walking on the ground.

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