What Do Bats Eat?

It is during the night, between dusk and dawn, when the vast majority of the 1,100 bat species on Earth hunt. Bats are an incredibly diverse species, with a large range in diet and hunting methods, but they also share many common behaviors when it comes to feeding.

Eating at night

Bats are able to hunt at night by utilizing a process called echolocation. Though they do have poor eyesight, bats aren't blind, however they don't use their eyes to catch their pray. In echolocation bats emit short sound pulses. When these pulses hit objects in the flight path of a bat, they shoot echoes back that provide information to bats about what's ahead.

bat
Bat

Insect eaters

Approximately 70% of bats eat insects. In general, bats catch their prey in the air or 'on the wing.' Bats will often make dramatic swoops toward their prey and usually attempt to catch them in their wide mouths. Sometimes, bats will consume their prey mid-flight, but usually they will bring prey back to their roosting spot to eat it.

Bats can consume several hundred insects in an hour and will eat up to 1/3 of their body weight during one night. They consume a wide variety of insects such as: moths, flies, crickets, grasshoppers, ants, dragonflies, termites and others. Though bats primarily snatch their prey from mid-air, there are a few species who will consume insects off the ground.

Fruit eating bats

Approximately 20% of bats are fruit eaters. Fruit-eating bats generally prefer sweet and fleshy fruits like: bananas, peaches, dates, mangoes and figs. Bats will extract fruits from the tree or bush where they grow and bring them back to their roosting site for consumption. Bats only eat part of the fruit, spitting the seeds out onto the ground. Because of this, bats help in the proliferation of many plant species.

Some bats also consume nectar from plants. These bats usually have long snouts that allow them extract nectar efficiently.

Vertebrates

A few bat species consume vertebrates such as frogs, lizards and birds. There are also a handful of bat species who eat fish. These bats swoop down over lakes or rivers and use their claws and feet to snatch the fish away.

Blood-consuming bats

Only three bat species consume blood as the sole component of their diet. The white-winged vampire bat and the hairy-legged vampire bat consume the blood of birds, while the common vampire bat consumes the blood of mammals.

Ready to purchase a bat house? Then browse our huge online inventory of bat houses. Want to learn more about bats? Then check out some of the articles below.

  • Bat Mating and Reproduction Habits - Learning about bat mating habits and the way bats rear their young is important if you are considering purchasing a bat house.
  • Guidelines for Installing a Bat House - If you're considering installing a bat house in your backyard or garden, you have two options: buy or build. Either way, you'll need to know the correct specifications regarding design in order to ensure the highest chance of occupancy in your bat
  • Echolocation in Bats - Echolocation is the process by which bats hunt, and involves the production and reception of high-intensity sounds to create a sonic landscape.
  • Attracting Bats to Your Bat House - One of nature's most enigmatic creatures, the lives of bats have been steeped in mystery for centuries. If you're interested in setting up a bat house, here are a few tips to attract bats to your structure.
Would you like to use this article on your website or blog? Click here to copy the HTML code.