What Do Bats Eat

Bats are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet.

They play a crucial role in our ecosystem, and yet many people know very little about them.

For example, what do bats eat?
a bat eating food

Depending on their species, bats can eat a variety of things like fruit, nectar, pollen, insects, and even small animals.

Explain it to a child

Depending on what kind of bat it is, they could eat anything from moths to beetles to grasshoppers. Some bats are even able to hunt bigger animals like frogs and small birds.

With close to 1000 different types of bats living in habitats around the world, it shouldn’t be surprising that these creatures have an impressive array of food choices.

What do bats eat? (Condensed List)

Bats are typically classified as insectivores, meaning they primarily fill their bellies with a variety of crawling and flying bugs.

Here is a list of 7 general foods groups that bats are known to eat:

  1. Insects
  2. Fruit
  3. Nectar
  4. Small vertebrates
  5. Blood
  6. Fish
  7. Honey

And here is a list of 10 more specific foods items that bats are known to eat:

  1. Mosquitoes
  2. Moths
  3. Agave nectar
  4. Frogs
  5. Small fish
  6. Rodents
  7. Lizards
  8. Blood from cattle
  9. Figs
  10. Dragonflies
a bat eating an insect
Depending on the species of bat, this could range anywhere from moths to beetles to grasshoppers, with some species even able to hunt large prey like frogs and small birds.

What’s most impressive is that these creatures can find their meals even in total darkness, relying instead on sophisticated echolocation to target unsuspecting insects in mid-air.

Detailed List Of Foods & Insects That Bats Eat – With pictures and descriptions (Expanded List)

With Bats consuming such a large range of food items, we wanted to provide a description for each item on our list:

a bat eating fruit
  1. Mosquitoes – Most insectivorous bats eat lots of mosquitoes. Little brown bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour!
  2. Moths – Bats like the spotted bat feed heavily on moths, which they find by tracking moth echoes and pheromones.
  3. Agave nectar – The Mexican long-nosed bat has a specialized diet of agave nectar and pollinates agave plants.
  4. Frogs – The fringe-lipped bat eats frogs as well as insects, using echolocation to find them.
  5. Small fish – Fisherman bats catch fish by skimming the water’s surface with their sharp claws.
  6. Rodents – The greater noctule bat eats birds but also hunts mice, voles and shrews.
  7. Lizards – Pallas’ long-tongued bat feeds on small lizards and insects, which it extracts from rock crevices with its long tongue.
  8. Blood from cattle – Vampire bats use razor-sharp teeth to make small cuts in cattle skin and lap up the blood.
  9. Figs – Fruit bats like the straw-colored fruit bat eat figs and play a role in dispersing fig seeds.
  10. Dragonflies – The carnivorous tube-lipped nectar bat eats insects like dragonflies and butterflies in addition to nectar.
  11. Insects – Bats eat a huge variety of insects like moths, mosquitoes, beetles, and crickets. This makes up the majority of most bat species’ diets.
  12. Fruit – Many tropical bat species feed on fruit such as bananas, mangoes, figs, and guavas. Fruit bats play an important role in seed dispersal.
  13. Nectar – Nectar-feeding bats have long snouts and tongues adapted for getting nectar from flowers. Examples include the lesser long-nosed bat and Mexican long-tongued bat.
  14. Small vertebrates – Some bats are carnivorous and eat small birds, mammals, frogs, lizards, and fish. The greater noctule bat is known to feed on birds.
  15. Blood – Vampire bats famously feed on the blood of mammals like cattle. Their saliva contains an anticoagulant to keep blood flowing as they feed.
  16. Fish – The bulldog bat feeds primarily on fish, using echolocation to detect ripples made by fish on the water’s surface.
  17. Honey – The honey possum, found in Australia, feeds extensively on nectar and pollen but also eats honey made by bees.

So in summary, bats have diverse diets tailored to their specific ecological niches, consisting of various insects, small vertebrates, fruit, nectar and even blood.

a bat eating a small fish

What kind of bats eat meat?

Groups of bats hunt for slugs, snails, and other smaller prey.

Among carnivorous bats, you’ll find widespread species such as the common vampire bat that’s capable of finding small animals such as goats, cows, or chickens and feeding from them.

These kinds of bats have also been known to feed on blood from amphibians, reptiles, and even human victims in rare cases.

What kind of bats eat fruit?

What Do Bats Eat

Fruit-eating bats are an incredible example of biodiversity and can provide invaluable insight into the interactions between animals and their environments.

These bats specialize in eating, or frugivory, plants such as fruits, flowers, and nectar, unlike insect-eating or carnivorous bats.

What makes frugivorous bats so diverse is that they can inhabit a wide range of habitats from rainforests to deserts.

What’s more, because of their appetite for fruit, these types of bats help disperse plant seeds throughout their ecosystems when traveling from one habitat to another.

What kind of bats eats an insect?

a bat eating honey

Insectivores, also known as true insectivores, mainly eat insects.

These bats have sharp incisors and long, narrow tongues to capture flying insects on the wing or wiggle their way into small crevices on leaves or bark of trees to grab them.

What’s more impressive is that with the help of their echolocation ability, they can find where the insects are hiding even in complete darkness.

These bats put great effort into catching food as it often takes hours for them to accumulate enough for a satisfying meal and consequently many times, the most agile and successful hunter survives the longest!

What is the bat’s favorite food?

Bat’s favorite type of food is insects.

In fact, most species of bats consume a variety of flying insects as their primary food source.

Whether it’s a fat beetle or a luscious moth, bats will typically forage for these nocturnal snacks once the sun sets and the air has cooled.

With excellent eyesight and echolocation abilities helping them in their hunt, thousands of years of evolution have made insects the bat’s favorite food choice.

How many insects can a bat eat in one hour?

a food pyramid showing the foods a bat will eat

It’s quite remarkable!

Little brown bats can consume an impressive number of insect pests, potentially consuming up to 500 mosquito-sized prey items in a single hour.

They even have the capability of devouring thousands more in a single night.

Therefore, it goes without saying that these nocturnal creatures are essential for controlling mosquitoes and other pest populations throughout many ecosystems.

Next time you find yourself outdoors after dark, keep an eye out for these helpful little critters!

Can bats drink water?

The reality is that, yes, bats have been found drinking from various sources of water, such as puddles, streams, and even pools.

They can also lick dew off leaves and stones for their liquid intake.

While this may be shocking to some, it’s important to remember that bats require hydration in order to stay healthy and keep up with their energetic lifestyles.

Not only that but flying at night increases the risk of dehydration quickly, so finding a reliable source of water has made all the difference for many species of bats over the years. Truly remarkable creatures!

What other types of food do bats eat?

a bat eating food
  • Bats may be most known for their affinity for the insects they feast on, but that is not all they eat.
  • They have been known to feed on a variety of fruits such as berries, bananas, and figs; as well as flowers, nectar, and pollen.
  • What may come as a surprise is that some species of bats also consume certain types of fish, frogs, or other smaller animals like rodents.

This variety in their diet helps bats to live in a plethora of climates around the world where fruits and animals are plentiful.

No matter what type of food bats are consuming, it is clear that their dietary diversity is an important asset to their survival and adaptability to different conditions.

Bats’ diets vary greatly depending upon their natural habitat and species type but all forms of life from fruit, nectar, pollen, insects, fish, rodents & reptiles may play a part in making up what goes into a hungry bat’s daily meal plan!


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