During National Bat Week, the scariest thing about bats is how endangered they are. Full story: http://on.natgeo.com/1My0b0G
  1. Bats on the Wing
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    A Mexican free-tailed bat comes in for a close-up as it leaves its cave to hunt. Every night from March to October, 1.5 million of these bats stream out from beneath a bridge in downtown Austin, Texas. (Photo by Joel Sartore with Cole Sartore, National Geographic Creative)
  2. Bats in Black
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    Taken in 1915, this flashlight-lit photo shows hundreds of small bats in a grotto. Many species of bats call caves their home. (Photo by George Shiras, National Geographic Creative)
  3. Move Over, Bees
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    Not all bats eat bugs, or blood. Some prefer flower pollen, which they pass from tree to tree. In fact, some plants are pollinated exclusively by bats. (Photograph by Merlin Tuttle, National Geographic Creative)
  4. These Eyes
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    The little red flying fox is a type of bat native to Australia. Here one is tested for the Hendra virus, which is a rare but potentially lethal virus that can be passed from bats to horses, and then from horses to humans. (Photo by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic Creative)
  5. Go Fish
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    Did you know that some bats can fish? Here a greater bulldog bat uses its claws to pluck a minnow from the water. These bats use sonar to detect tiny ripples on the water's surface. Some bats can catch up to 30 fish in a single night. (Photo by Christian Ziegler, National Geographic Creative)
  6. Home to Roost
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    Not all bats prefer to roost in caves. The spectacled flying foxes pictured here are happiest high in the canopy of the rain forest. (Photograph by Jason Edwards, National Geographic Creative)
  7. Bat Camping
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    Some tropical species, like these Honduran white bats, have been observed to make tents out of leaves. The tiny bats bite through a leaf's veins so that it droops down and forms a crevice for them to hide in. (Photo by Konrad Wothe, Minden Pictures)
  8. Hanging Out
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    Noack's roundleaf bats huddle by the thousands in a cave on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. This species is one of the most common bat species in Africa. A single colony can contain perhaps 500,000 individuals. (Photo by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Creative)
  9. Cuddle Buddies
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    Three striped yellow-eared bats roost together under a leaf. These kinds of bats are rather uncommon, occupying mature forests from Nicaragua to Ecuador. They are thought to roost in harems consisting of one male and several females. (Photo by James Christensen, Minden Pictures)
  10. Bad News Bats
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    White-nose syndrome has ravaged the wings of this little brown bat. In just eight years, the disease has killed more than six million bats in the United States and Canada. (Photo by Stephen Alvarez, National Geographic Creative)
  11. Dive In
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    A bat gets a fresh dusting of pollen while trying to eat the nectar of a blue mahoe tree in Cuba. In Mexico, bats are important pollinators of agave, which is used to make tequila. The next time you have a margarita, remember to thank a bat! (Photo by Merlin Tuttle, National Geographic Creative)
  12. Safety in Numbers
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    Nearly 183,000 gray bats cluster together on a wall of Hubbard Cave in Tennessee. The cave houses more than 500,000 gray bats each winter, and the entire species is known to use just eight or nine caves across the American southeast. (Photo by Stephen Alvarez, National Geographic Creative)
  13. A Mother's Embrace
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    A flying fox hugs its baby tight beneath folded wings in Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park in Australia. Like all mammals, mother bats nurse their young with mammary glands that produce milk. (Photo by Jason Edwards, National Geographic Creative)
  14. A Rogue's Gallery
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    A colony of Egyptian fruit bats hang out in a cave in the Maramagambo Forest of Uganda. Scientists tested the bats for the Marburg virus, since fruit bats are a natural reservoir for the disease. (Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Creative)
  15. Go-Go-Gadget Tongue
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    An orange nectar bat extends a long, nimble tongue to rob a bromeliad flower of nectar. Like a hummingbird, the bat hovers near the flower long enough to insert its tongue and lap up the flower's sweet reward. (Photo by Merlin Tuttle, National Geographic Creative)
  16. Trick or Treat!
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    While this photo might conjure up the image of a vampire, this is nothing more than a harmless fruit bat. Only three species of bats feed on blood. The rest dine mostly on insects, fruit, and nectar. (Photo by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Creative)