Last Reviewed and Updated on June 10, 2022
Bats are one of the most fascinating mammals as they are the only mammal capable of flying. They are an integral part of the ecosystem, and they can consume massive quantities of insects in one night. But are insects the only thing these animals eat? What do bats eat, besides insects? Let’s take a closer look into the diet of a bat.
What do bats eat?
There isn’t one answer that fits all, after all, there are over 1400 different species of bats living across the globe and their diets vary.
The majority of bat species are insectivores, meaning they eat insects. Some species have a sweet tooth, eating fruit and pollen. Others will gladly feast on small animals like lizards or fish. And some even drink blood.
Love bats? Do read our list of fun facts about bats!
Insects – Insectivore Bats
Most small species of bats eat insects that they hunt for at night. Some species hunt for their insect prey in the air, catching them and eating them in flight, or catching them and taking the insect to the bat’s roost and eating them there.
Some bat species catch their prey on vegetation on the ground or on tree branches and such.
Insectivore bats mostly consume mosquitoes, flies, moths, termites, beetles, grasshoppers, and other similarly sized insects.
Fruit – Frugivory Bats
You can find fruit-eating bats in both small and large species of bats. These bats will grab ripe fruit and usually take it to their roots where they will eat it. They don’t eat the seeds, instead, they spit them out which helps disperse the seeds of these fruit seeds.
Species of bats that eat nectar have evolved to have special adaptations. They have a long muzzle and a long tongue with bristles that help them feed on flowers. While this adaptation is handy when it comes to eating nectar, it does give them a disadvantage when food is scarce, as they can not turn to other food sources.
Nectar feeding bats are important pollinators to some plant species.
Some bat species will prey on small vertebrates like frogs, fish, lizards, birds, and small mammals.
Some of these species are specialized in hunting just one type of animal.
A minority of species feed on blood. These bats will target sleeping animals, pierce their skin (they can locate blood vessels), and lick the blood.
They have an anticoagulant in their saliva, which prevents the blood from clotting while they feed.