There are more than 1200 species of bats in the world, accounting for about 20% of the world’s mammal species. Since they are the only mammals in the world that can fly, bats have unique mating behavior different from other mammals.
Biologist John Altringham, author of Bats: From Evolution to Conservation, said that the positions and times of mating between different species of bats vary greatly.
Bats live in temperate zones. They usually migrate from their summer habitats to wintering sites known as hibernation sites and reproduce. Their mating usually takes place in late summer and early autumn, and females keep their male sperm until next spring. Bats living in warm areas do not need to migrate, and their mating behavior follows seasonal changes in food supply.
Bats are diverse in attracting and choosing mates. For these animals that need hibernation, the first encounter between males and females occurs during that year’s hibernation. By then the bats will be chasing each other, which is really a spectacular stunt flying show. It is not clear how bats choose their mates, but it is likely that females choose the most agile male bats. Throughout the gathering flight, successful bats will fly to secluded caves for private mating.
For other bats, such as horseshoe bats, their courtship is more personal than in groups. Females visit their male nests in person.
Arboreal bats have their own mating styles. Male hammerhead bats grow their mouths and noses in trees along the river bank and try to attract passing females by howling in their oestrus. Male sac-winged bats release human pheromones in front of females, while demonstrating their superior flying ability.
Some bats mate in reversed positions, while others mate in cave walls or rock crevices. Males will insert their young Ding into the female’s vagina from behind. The process may be short, long and noisy.
Researchers found that female short-nosed fruit bats prolong mating time by giving male oral sex, and male Indian flying fox bats do the same for females.
Most bats are promiscuous, that is, a bat has multiple mating partners. In some cases, one or two male bats take protective measures against their concubines.
A few bats or even monogamous, once a child is born, the whole extended family will live together. These bats include the world’s largest carnivorous bat, the American pseudovampire bat. They are also the only ones in the bat that have males left behind to protect and feed their young.