What Do Bats Eat?


What Do Bats Eat?

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The world’s least favorite animal is the bat. These small flying things frighten a lot of people because of their peculiar appearance. But much like many other animal species, these mammals play a critical role in our ecology.

The Chiroptera order includes bats. They are the only mammals capable of flight, and they are far more nimble than birds thanks to their special wings. Over 1,200 different bat species can be found worldwide. The smallest bats are only 34 mm long and have a 150 mm wingspan, while the largest bat species has a 1.7 meter wingspan.

What do Bats Eat?

What do Bats Eat?

These creatures are useful, but they can also spread a variety of illnesses, including rabies.

It’s not the simplest of duties to raise or care for bats. This is due to the fact that bat species might have different diets. Some are solely herbivorous, whereas others are omnivorous or carnivorous. Before attempting to feed the bats, it’s crucial to determine the precise species you have.

Here is a brief overview of the most frequent foods that the majority of bat species eat.


In order to survive, bats don’t need a lot of water. The majority of the water they need comes from the food they eat. Some animals will opt to sip water from sources like streams, dipping their tongues into the liquid as they fly over the source.


Most species of tiny bats are insectivores. Typically, these species concentrate on little insect species that they may catch out of the air. Bats use echolocation to find insects to eat. These frequencies detect the presence of items as they bounce back against them, allowing them to capture their prey. Bats are less likely to swallow crawling insects due to their poor vision.

These insectivores will eat many different kinds of insects, including flies, mosquitoes, beetles, moths, grasshoppers, bees, mayflies, and many more. Some of the insects are eaten while they are still in flight, while others are brought back to the bats’ roost to be eaten.


Because they aid in dispersing seeds to develop new plants, omnivorous or herbivorous bat species are crucial to the ecology. Typically, these bats like ripe fruit. When they return to their roost with the fruits, they often drink fruit juice and spit out the fruit’s pulp and seeds.


Bats that consume nectar have lengthy tongues and muzzles. This enables them to access the nectar by penetrating deeply inside flowers. Bananas, avocados, mangos, and many more fruits wouldn’t be available to us without bats. 500 plant species rely on bat pollination for the survival of their species since it helps plants reproduce.

Bats that consume nectar are relatively weak. It is exceedingly challenging for them to eat various kinds of food because of the length of their muzzles. They can eat other things, but if there are no flowering plants to eat, they will probably starve.


Small vertebrates can be caught by larger carnivorous bat species like the fringe-lipped bat. Fish, frogs, reptiles, birds, and small mammals are just a few of the vertebrate species that these bats may catch and consume. A bird-eating bat species that can capture birds in mid-flight is the larger noteworthy bat. The greater bulldog bat, on the other hand, uses echolocation to find fish by spotting ripples on the water’s surface.


Some bat species, such as vampire bat species, are bloodfeeders solely. Although some species of these bats can feed on smaller animals like birds, most species of these bats prefer large mammals like cattle.

These bats often use their heat sensors to locate blood veins near an animal’s skin in order to discover prey. The bat will bite into the animal’s skin and use its tongue to slurp up the blood. These bats may obtain a large quantity of blood from their victims because the anticoagulant in their saliva prevents blood from clotting.

Diet variations

Bats may attempt to eat things other than their typical diet in difficult conditions.

For instance, nectar-eating bats will attempt to consume fruit. If they are starving, bats that consume blood or flesh may also decide to devour insects.

Although there are a few different diets that bats can follow, they normally do not thrive on these alternate food sources.

How to feed bats

How to feed bats

Having said that, bats can carry a variety of diseases and can bite with great force due to their razor-sharp teeth.

If you are providing food for wild bats, you should do so in a designated feeding area. It is best to use tweezers or a plate to feed an orphaned bat in order to prevent the animal from accidently chewing your fingers.

How much do bats eat?

If you consider the size of bats, they can eat a lot of food. For instance, fruit bats can consume more than twice as much food as they do themselves. In one night, insectivorous bats can consume more than 120% of their body weight.

Because bats cover a lot of ground at night and need a lot of food to keep active, they can eat a lot of food.

However, a bat’s age and species do affect how much food they take.

What do baby bats eat? 

A pup is the term for a young bat. Although these mammals are relatively little at birth, they grow very quickly.

They depend on their mother’s milk to survive because they are mammals. However, feeding an abandoned bat milk formula will help it survive. Different species of bats may require different kinds of milk formula, and they cannot just take any kind of milk formula. Before giving orphaned bat milk, it’s crucial to get in touch with a veterinarian so you can determine the proper kind of milk based on the specie.

During the first few weeks of life, several little bat species only require a few drops to 1ml of milk every feeding. Bats typically eat four times a day, and as they get bigger, they might eat even more. Some little bats can be fed by a dripper, while others can be fed with gauze or a foam tip.

The majority of bat species can begin eating complete foods at 6 weeks of age. Solid foods should be introduced gradually and in moderate amounts.

Offering the appropriate food to the bat depends on its species, which is extremely crucial.

Normally, bats wean themselves. When infants stop drinking milk from their mother or a caregiver, they are old enough to subsist on solid foods.

What do wild bats eat?

Bats can only eat anything they find around them in the wild. Until they are all adults, they are all dependent on their mother for survival.

Different food types are consumed by various species of bat. Fruit bats prefer to reside in tropical climates with an abundance of wild fruits. Because they absorb the nectar from flowers, nectar-eating bats also reside in tropical areas with a lot of fruit and flowering plants.

Because they can find insects in almost any area, insectivores can be found everywhere and in any climate.

Bats that are carnivores will catch and consume a variety of prey, including fish, mice, lizards, and more.

You must first identify the species if you intend to feed wild bats. Knowing the species will help you decide what to give wild bats.

Do bats eat mice?

Mice are caught and consumed by carnivorous bat species. Compared to insectivorous bat species, these bats are often larger. There are many bat species that like catching and eating mice.

Do bats eat fruit?

Not all types of bats can consume fruit. However, certain species, like the Jamaican fruit bat, are fruit-dependent. These bats will consume any fruit, and because they help disseminate fruit seeds to encourage new development, they are vital to forests.

Do bats eat meat?

Meat is consumed by large bat species including the larger bulldog bat, ghost bat, spectral bat, and others.

They will capture a wide variety of small animals, including mice, birds, fish, frogs, and other tiny mammals. Certain animal species are preferred by some bat species as sources of meat. The greater bulldog bat, which prefers to hunt fish, is a suitable illustration.

Do bats eat rats?

The majority of carnivorous bat species can and do catch and consume young rats. Rats are however fairly huge when fully grown. The greater noctule bat and a few other larger bat species are the only ones with the strength and massive fangs needed to catch and consume rats.

Although they are not the most attractive creatures on the planet, bats are undoubtedly the most fascinating.

It is crucial to feed bats the proper meals, especially orphaned bats, as these mammals do have rather delicate digestive systems. These bats can thrive with the right diet and care, continuing to contribute to the ecology.

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Are bats harmful?

Around the world, bats are important to ecosystems. They are also capable of spreading diseases like rabies. The best defense against being harmed by bats is to avoid them and seek medical attention if you do.

Are bats friendly to humans?

The truth is that, while they are normally not hostile toward people, bats are also not particularly friendly either. Bats are cautious around large animals that might end up being predators. They like to stay as far away from others as they can because of this.

Is it safe to live near bats?

Around the world, bats are important to ecosystems. They are also capable of spreading diseases like rabies. The best defense against being harmed by bats is to avoid them and seek medical attention if you do.

Can bats be friendly?

Some types of bats may adapt to humans and even become attached and cuddly, which is known as domestication. However, compared to the wild, where they can live up to 30 years, they typically live significantly shorter lives in captivity.

Is it safe to be around bats?

In the US, bats are the main vector for rabies mortality among humans. It is best to keep humans and pets away from bats. Never should a bat be kept as a pet. Bats can transmit rabies to humans through small, insignificant, or unnoticed bites or scratches.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author