See bat. See bat run.

It should come as no surprise that bats tend to be poor runners. What should come as a surprise, however, is how well vampire bats can run.

See bat run.

Riskin started out studying how bats of various species move across a surface, which they generally do badly. The least effective of them “just smack their wings against the ground and freak out,” never successfully taking a step, he says.

Other species can shuffle. “The typical bat can get from A to B, but it looks really clumsy while it does it,” Riskin says.

In contrast, he ranks the ground-traversing skills of vampire bats as “off-the-scale good.” The 8-centimeter-long animals move nimbly in any direction, easily making the transition from ground to air movement. They can jump into flight from a standing start in some 30 milliseconds.

(via BoingBoing; Science News: “Vampires Run: Bats on treadmills show high-speed gait,” by Susan Milius [March 19, 2005])