It's time to show bats some love, because April 17 marks International Bat Appreciation Day to raise awareness about the plight of bats as well as their contributions.

Animal-themed holidays provide excellent opportunities for people to learn more about the creatures and appreciate their role in the environment. On International Bat Appreciation Day, the spotlight is on chiropterans.

The occasion was created after the organization Bat Conservation International (BCI) identified 35 critically endangered bat species, National Today explained.

Unfortunately, bats are often still seen as pests or disease spreaders even though they actually play a crucial role in pest control and pollination. Further, many of these important creatures are faced with various threats, such as disease, human hunting, deforestation and habitat loss.

In the U.S., for instance, more than half of its bat species are either declining or already considered endangered, The Nature Conservancy said. One of the biggest threats they are facing is the White-Nose Syndrome, which has killed millions of bats.

On International Bat Appreciation Day, learn more about the incredible creatures with some interesting facts. (Courtesy -- Britannica, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and The Nature Conservancy)

  • Unlike other "flying" mammals, that actually glide, bats are the only mammals that can really fly.
  • Bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour. As mentioned, bats actually play an important role in pest control, and this is one of the ways they do it. This helps farmers to protect their crops from pests.
  • Baby bats are called pups, and bat mothers can find them even among thousands of other pups by their scent and voice. Just like humans and other mammals, they also have belly buttons.
  • More than 300 fruit species depend on bats for pollination. This includes popular produce such as bananas, avocados, figs and cacao.
  • Guano, or bat droppings, can be used to make gun powder, explosives, fertilizer and even to preserve fossils. Guano was even Texas' largest mineral export before oil.
  • Just like cats, bats also clean themselves. Some species even clean each other.
  • Most bats live less than 20 years in the wild, but several species can live for over 30 years. The oldest recorded bat was from Siberia, which lived to 41 years old.
  • There are more than 1,400 bat species that can be found in almost every part of the world except for extreme deserts and the cold poles.
  • Not all bats hang upside down. Although most do, there are six species that don't.
  • The Kitti's hog-nosed bat is so small it weighs less than a penny. Also known as the Bumblebee Bat, it is considered to be the world's smallest mammal.
  • On the other hand, the largest bat is the "flying fox," which can grow up to six feet and live in South Pacific islands.

Bat Pictured: Representative image of a bat. Photo: Jose Miguel GuardeƱo/Pixabay