La Poste issued a block of four stamps depicting four species of bats.
This block is the third collection of the series "Nature", very popular with collectors. The first one was devoted to dog breeds (2011) and the second one – to tropical fish (2012).
Bats fascinate us since time immemorial. The first traces of this small mammal count nearly 55 million years, and nowadays about 1,200 species of bats colonize all parts of the globe. The bats hear by emitting ultrasonic echolocation and capturing the return echo. Bats use their sight and smell to find the fruit they eat. They move through the air by flapping their wings composed of a thin stretched skin. Mastering all styles of flight, they reach a top speed of over 50 km/h or remain stationary as hummingbirds. To hibernate or rest the bats hang by their claws upside down without spending energy.
Four species of bats are illustrated on stamps of this block:
The greater horseshoe bat was transferred from Europe to Japan. Hunting specialist and aerobatics champion, it emits ultrasound through the nose. He wraps himself in his wings at rest, especially during hibernation which runs underground, often in caves or cellars. Its population has fallen sharply in the 1990s.
The Mayotte flying fox: very large species of nearly 1.50 m in wingspan, this bat is primarily frugivorous and is particularly active in the evening. This is one of the curiosities of the fauna of the Comoros archipelago where it is protected.
The Natterer's bat: This is a species with slow and winding flight, present throughout Europe, North Africa and Asia. Living up to 16 years, it is considered rare, but it is mostly a very discreet bat living in wall cracks and crevices. It captures its prey, butterflies and other insects, in the foliage.
The Alpine Long-eared bat: this little bat recently discovered in France lives in the Alps and the Pyrenees. It is recognizable by his disproportionate ears. They hunt by listening to the sound of the prey and prefer the upper forests, mountain passes and mountain meadows.