Are Bats Related to Dogs? (You Might Be Surprised)

  • 4 min read
  • Bats, Mammals
Are Bats Related to Dogs

Bats are some of the most interesting creatures on this planet; there’s a reason that some people on the internet have come to refer to them as “sky puppies”!

Despite the fact that they may be often portrayed as the spooky companion to witches and vampires, bats are actually some of the sweetest animals out there.

These flighty friends can even physically resemble some dogs, adding to the illusion that they’re just man’s best friend with a pair of wings.

Are bats actually related to dogs? You may be surprised to hear that bats fall into the same super-order as dogs. This super-order, known as Pegasoferae, also includes animals such as horses, cats, and whales. Due to DNA similarities across these species, it is hypothesized that they may have evolved from a common ancestor.

RELATED: Do Flying Foxes Bite? (Are They Dangerous Or Aggressive?)

How Are Bats Related To Dogs?

Physically, bats are very different from dogs. Most of the time, we may think that animals can only be related to each other if they share common physical characteristics. However, animal classification is based on much more than what an animal looks like.

In order to classify animals, scientists also take a close look at an animal’s DNA in order to create a timeline of evolution; this method of classification is also known as Phylogenetic Classification. By using this system, scientists are able to create a large tree that includes various organisms, tracing them back to common ancestors.

In the case of dogs and bats, it is hypothesized that they share a common ancestor that has not yet been named. Despite the fact that no fossils have been found of this organism, by looking at a variety of modern-day animals, scientists have been able to approximate what it would have looked like.

What Do Bats and Dogs Have in Common?

Besides their DNA, bats and dogs have a lot more in common than you may think:

  1. Both dogs and bats have incredibly sensitive noses
  2. A recent hypothesis suggests that a dog’s wet nose is meant to be able to sense body heat, much like a bat
  3. Both dogs and bats are placental mammals, meaning that females produce a placenta when pregnant
  4. Both bats and dogs belong to the Scrotifera clade, characterized by post penile scrotums in adult males
  5. Not to mention their physical appearance! Consider the Buettikofer’s epauletted fruit bat, native to tropical and subtropical portions of Africa. This fruit bat looks like someone just copied and pasted a picture of a dog head onto the body of a bat!

Do Bats Get Along With Humans?

Most of the time, a wild bat is just as afraid of you as you are of them! Bats will generally avoid confrontations with humans simply by flying away. Bats are generally non-aggressive, and will only attack when provoked.

If you do find yourself with injuries caused by a bat, it is important to receive prompt care, as they could potentially carry rabies. If the bat has broken the skin, wash the area immediately with soap and water before immediately seeking medical attention. Because rabies is only treatable before physical symptoms manifest, it is crucial to get the rabies vaccination as soon as possible.

However, the fear of rabies is not a reason to stigmatize all bats. Very few bats actually carry the disease, and most of the time, you will be able to tell right away if an animal is suffering from rabies.

Related Questions

Are bats canines?

Canines are the group of animals that belong to the Canidae biological family, characterized by long-legs, slender muzzles, bushy tails, and pointed ears. While this family includes dogs, raccoons, and foxes, it does not include bats. Bats belong to the Chiroptera order, which is dedicated specifically to the approximately 925 individual bat species.

Do bats actually drink blood?

Most bats don’t actually drink blood; the vast majority of bats eat fruit and insects. Only vampire bats drink blood, and humans generally don’t have to worry, as they usually target cows, pigs, horses, and birds. On larger mammals, vampire bats don’t drain enough blood to cause significant harm, but their bite could potentially transmit disease.

Can bats be trained just like dogs?

As fun as that would be, bats cannot be domesticated in the same way as dogs. Because of this, they should not be kept as pets, and can’t be trained.

nv-author-image

Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.

Tags: