Why do Bats Hang Upside Down?


Students try on a pair of made bat wings to experience why bats do hang upside down. They walk with the wings on and see for themselves that the feat of walking for a bat is not easy. Bats are not designed to walk and that is why they hang upside down.

Materials Needed: bat wings, pictures that clearly show bat wings


  1. Docent takes students to designated area.
  2. Docent then asks students why do they think bats hang upside down and tells them that the bat is the only mammal that doesn’t walk.
  3. Docent then says why don’t the students find out for themselves.
  4. Docent asks for volunteers.
  5. Docent distributes the wings to the volunteers and prompts students and adults to help the students into their wings.
  6. Students will see how hard it is to walk as a bat.
  7. After the first students have had a couple of minutes of trying out the bat wings, the first bats will trade with the bat helpers that want to try the wings.
  8. During the activity the Docent is emphasizing the body structure of the bat and prompting students to make connections of how it is similar and different to human structure and bird structure. Docent will prompt students to think of other reasons why a bat might want to hang upside down, and inform them that bats’ knees are backwards to human knees.

Alabama Course of Study for Science

This activity meets goals specified for grades

  • K–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 15
  • 1st–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 21, 24
  • 2nd–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 20, 23, 25
  • 3rd–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 21, 32, 34
  • 4th–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 41, 43
  • 5th–#’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 39

Learning Outcomes

Students will experience why bats hang upside down and understand better, what people think of as, this strange behavior of the bat.

Instrumental Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • experience the different anatomy of the bat.
  • demonstrate the difficulty bats have with walking.
  • connect the idea of body structure and the way the body is used.