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Why Do Bats Sleep Upside Down?

While you and I are sleeping, bats soar through the sky in search of a tasty meal. And while you and I are awake, bats are sleeping … upside down! We explain why these nocturnal creatures spend their nights hanging from their talons with help from Animal Planet.


There are three reasons the roost makes for a bat’s ideal sleeping position.


[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"40207","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","alt":""}}]]Bats find these sleeping spots in caves, bridges or hollowed-out trees so that they are hidden from the daytime’s active predators. Not only are they tucked away from most other animals, but they are also in the perfect position for takeoff if danger strikes or dinner arrives.


Animal Planet explains that unlike birds, who lift into flight, bats fall into flight. “Their wings don’t produce enough lift to take off from a dead stop, and their hind legs are so small and underdeveloped that they can’t run to build up the necessary takeoff speed.”


The third reason you’ll never find a bat sleeping right side up is that it’s just not comfortable. Believe it or not, when a bat is hanging upside down, it is in a relaxed position and is not exerting energy. You and I must clench the tendons and muscles in our fingers to tighten our grip, but a bat is the opposite. The tendons in a bat's talons are connected only to its upper body, so when a bat decides it’s bedtime, it flies into position and pulls its claws open with its body’s muscles. To grab hold of the surface, the bat must let its body relax. The weight of its upper body holds the bat in its roost position. And now, the bat can sleep. … Zzzz … Zzzz … Zzzz…


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