Going Batty

by Laura Overdeck

Bats are our friends because they’re flying bug traps. A bat can eat 1/3 of its body weight in bugs in just a few hours, which is a LOT of insects. Bats find their food by making a very loud, high-pitched noise that bounces off the bug, and that tells them where to catch it. Bats can be any size from smaller than our hand to nearly 2 feet long…let’s hope that big one doesn’t chase you on Halloween.

Wee ones: Hold your arms out to the side like bat wings. Flap them up and down 4 full times!

Little kids: If you and 9 friends dress up as bats for Halloween, how many bats are you altogether?  Bonus: How many wings do you all have?

Big kids: If a bat flies 5 feet to catch a bug, then 3 feet from there to catch the next, then 9 feet, then 6 feet, what’s the closest the bat can end up from its starting point?  Bonus: If 2,000 bugs together weigh just 1 ounce, how many bugs does a bat catch in 1 pound? (Hint: What if there were just 2 bugs in each ounce? And reminder if needed: A pound has 16 ounces.)

The sky’s the limit: If on Halloween your street block has 36 bats total, and there are 3 times as many real live bats as dress-up bats, how many of those 36 bats are real?

Answers:
Wee ones: Count to 4 as you flap your wings!

Little kids: 10 bats.  Bonus: 20 wings.

Big kids: 1 foot from the start, if it flies forward 5, back 3 (to just 2 feet ahead), back 9 (to 7 behind), and then forward 6.  Bonus: 32,000 bugs — yuck!

The sky’s the limit: 27 real bats. However many dress-up bats there are, the real ones add 3 more “sets” that size, making 4 sets total. So there are 9 dress-up bats, giving us 27 for the rest.

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