What is a breeding colony

Faithless bigamists

When bats hold a wedding

Autumn is the high point of reproduction for bats. The communities of females during the summer (nurseries) for rearing the young slowly dissolve and the sexes meet again to provide for the offspring for the next year.

From mating roosts, such as tree hollows or during flight, the mating calls of the males can be heard in many places, which attract females willing to reproduce. In contrast to the hunting calls of the animals, humans can even hear the courtship calls of the noctule bat, pipitic bats or rough-skin bats. Then the ladies are spoiled for choice and answer the call of a singer to his mating quarters. The noctule bat often uses tree hollows as a meeting place for male and female animals. A noctule bat can even hold several females trapped in this tree cavity at the same time and form a harem.

However, the bond between the animals is short: after mating, the females leave the mating roost and look for a new partner, while the males continue to tirelessly attract females. The advantage of this method of changing partnerships lies in the mixing of the genetic make-up. In exceptional cases it can even happen that bat twins have different fathers.

A specialty of the reproduction process of the bats is that the female bats can store the semen over the winter and in spring, depending on the external conditions, can even control the time of the actual fertilization. Mating can occur while the bats are still in hibernation. The animals wake up in the meantime during hibernation. Some males use these short wakefulness phases and mate with females that are still sleeping.

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