What Do Bats Eat?

Bats eating fruit

Having a poor reputation as flying bloodsuckers, bats are. If you’ve noticed bats flying around in your neighborhood, you probably want to know what they consume.

The majority of bats are insectivores, which means that a variety of insects make up the majority of their food. Numerous bat species exist around the world, and their meals differ based on their size and the environment they dwell in. Microbats are small bats that mostly consume meat, including insects, fish, small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Megabats are large bats that mostly consume fruit, along with other things including seeds, leaves, nectar, pollen, and insects.

The good news is that bats don’t want to bite your neck and bleed you out!

You must also find it fascinating that bats consume fruit, frogs, and fish. You can learn everything you need to know about a bat’s diet from this guide.

All right? So let’s get going.

What Do Bats Eat In The Wild?

1. Insects

All types of bats include insects in their diets. Small bat species often consume primarily insects in their diet. While still consuming some insects, larger bat species concentrate more on eating fruit. Only insects make up the diet of almost 70% of the world’s bat species.

Bugs that are viewed as pests are frequently eaten by bats. This includes gnats, fruit flies, crickets, locusts, June bugs, spiders, and mosquitoes. When the bats like to forage at night, these insects tend to be more active. Since bees and butterflies are most active during the day, when bats are sleeping, they are rarely eaten by bats.

In one night, a bat can consume thousands of insects. To forage, breed, and get ready for winter hibernation, they require that much energy.

Finding tens of thousands of bugs per night can seem impossible. However, using their echolocation abilities, bats may readily accomplish this. In the pitch-black night, these sound pulses enable bats to locate and attack even the smallest flies.

Bats receive their protein, fats, nutrients, and water from insects.

People gain a lot from the fact that bats consume such a large number of insects. In addition to slowing disease spread, it also prevents insects from harming vital food crops.

2. Fruit & Seeds

Some bat species prefer fruit to insects when feeding. Although some microbats also eat fruit, these bats are often larger macrobats. Fruit-eating bats are referred to as frugivorous bats.

The majority of fruit-eating bats reside in warm regions where an abundance of soft, sweet fruits are always in season.

Fruit varieties that bats eat include:

  • Figs
  • Mangoes
  • Bananas
  • Dates
  • Avocadoes

These foods are abundant in the nutrients, water, carbohydrates, and fats that the bats need to survive and grow.

Fruit bats can find food without relying on echolocation. To scavenge for fruit, they have bigger eyes and a keen sense of smell.

Fruit bats can consume the fruit while flying directly off the plant or tree, or they can carry it and consume it after landing.

The whole fruit is not consumed by fruit bats. Really, all they desire inside is the fruit juice. They will spit away the pulp and seeds after they have chewed the fruit flesh to extract the juice.

The good news is that some fruit seeds do get consumed by the bats. That indicates that when they fly out and crap out fruit seeds, they aid in their distribution.

3. Nectar & Pollen

Some bat species are nectivorous, which means that their primary food source is plant nectar. These bats typically consume fruit as well.

Bats that consume nectar have unique face features that make nectar consumption simple. They can collect the sweet nectar from flowers using their larger mouths and nostrils. The bats will absorb some plant pollen while they devour the nectar.

Bats that consume fruit and nectar need a high protein source because they don’t eat insects. Protein comes from pollen for nectar-eating bats.

In order to enable bats to consume their nectar and pollen, some plants have evolved to only flower at night.

There are two types of bats that eat primarily nectar. These include the Mexican long-tongued bat and the smaller long-nosed bat. However, a lot of leaf-nosed bats include fruit and nectar in their diet.

In the USA, bats frequently rob hummingbird feeders at night to obtain nectar. Bats are probably to blame if you find that your nectar feeders are being depleted at night.

4. Amphibians & reptiles

The ability to catch small frogs and lizards to eat has developed in some bat species.

The frog-eating bat is another name for the fringe-lipped bat. They will also consume insects and lizards in addition to frogs. These frogs can tell a deadly frog from from a non-poisonous frog.

Near rivers and ponds, frog-eating bats will fly back and forth while listening for the frog or reptile calls. Once the bat locates its target, it will swoop down and bite it to render it immobile. Then, after taking flight, they will consume their victim while perched.

These bats have big ears that aid in their ability to hear effectively and locate their prey. They can even transport their victims away with the help of their long claws and powerful fangs.

The United States does not have any bat species that consume frogs and lizards. They are primarily found in countries in southern America.

5. Fish and crustaceans

A few different types of bats have fish in their diet. For some bat species that like to reside close to larger bodies of water, this offers a convenient food supply.

The bulldog bat is the most well-known species of fish-eating bat. Both Central and South America are home to this species. The bulldog bat is known as “the fisherman” because it is so adept at catching fish. The three fish it most frequently catches are silversides, thread herring, and anchovies.

Bats that consume fish utilize their echolocation to find food by spotting ripples on the water’s surface. They then swoop down and use their claws to capture the fish. They have the ability to drag bigger fish out of the water and carry them on land to feed. Like insects, small fish can be eaten immediately away.

Not all bat species are capable of catching fish. This is due to the adaptation of the feet and jaws in fish-eating bat species. They have greater bite and powerful, pointed claws, making it easier for them to catch fish.

6. Small animals & Birds

Bats that consume meat actually exist. Nevertheless, they only account for about 1% of all bat species worldwide. These carnivorous bats have evolved to include small birds and rodents in their diet.

The ghostly bat, commonly referred to as the fake vampire, is the most well-known species of carnivorous bat. South and Central America include populations of this species.

When seeking out and catching their prey, meat-eating bats are quite similar to owls. From above, they track their victims before swooping down to hook them and kill them by biting their skulls. Prey is frequently brought back to roosts to feed other bats.

Bats that consume meat have modified their wings to transport larger animals. Additionally, they have bigger nostrils for detecting prey. larger jaws and claws for grabbing and maiming, too.

7. Blood

Blood-drinking bats are known to exist in three different species. Even though the story about bloodsucking bats can seem to be real, it isn’t entirely accurate.

Since blood makes up a large portion of their diet, blood-drinking bats are also referred to as vampire bats. They don’t eat blood and bite. Instead, they puncture a tiny wound in the skin and sip the gushing blood like a cat or dog might a glass of water.

These bats’ main supply of protein, salts, and nutrients for survival is blood.

Contrary to common belief, vampire bats hardly ever prey on people. They much like to consume the blood of horses and cows that are dozing.

For about 30 minutes, they will feed after landing on their victim. Because they are tiny, vampire bats cannot hurt their prey with their blood consumption.

Bats that hunt vampires have heat-seeking noses that can identify creatures that are bleeding. They have evolved to develop razor-sharp teeth that make it easy to extract blood. As they eat, their saliva helps to stop blood clotting.

Despite having a frightening name, vampire bats are very safe when they bite—aside from the potential for disease transmission. You’ll be relieved to learn that they are not found in the United States, only in Central and South America.

Bat milk

The food of young bats (pups) differs from that of adult bats. Bat pups will depend on their mother’s breastfeeding for the first four weeks following birth. They will remain with their mother and continue to be fed by her until they are old enough to go hunting on their own.

Bat parents may carry food back to their roost and vomit it into their young bats’ mouths as they get a bit older. The newborn bats’ shift to more solid diets may be aided by this.

What Do Bats Eat In The Wild?

What do bats eat in winter?

Over the winter, the majority of bats will hibernate for a while. This happens as a result of the insects hiding due to the cold and the scarcity of food.

Even though they hibernate, bats occasionally awaken to hunt for food for brief periods of time. During this brief moment of awakening, bats will typically seek out as many insects as they can to devour.

Until the insects start to return in the spring, bats will remain in a state of hibernation.

What do bats drink?

Water is a favorite drink of bats for hydration. They prefer to hunt and roost close to a good water supply since they require a lot of water.

Bats thrive best in open water environments like ponds, lakes, puddles, and birdbaths. They won’t sip water straight from the container. They instead submerge themselves and lick the water droplets off.

Foraging insects and larvae near the surface benefit greatly from a reliable water source.

Final thoughts

Although their primary food source varies depending on the species, bats primarily consume insects. They have done a good job of adjusting to getting their nourishment from their surroundings.

In the USA, bats mostly consume insects, fruit, and nectar. Other species will consume fish, birds, amphibians, small mammals, and reptiles. Despite the fact that these species are primarily found in Central and South America.

There are vampire bats that consume animal blood to stay alive. Only in central and south America can one find these peaceful bats.

Make sure your yard has plants and bushes that will draw insects if you want to aid bats. It’s usually a good idea to provide a water supply for thirsty bats to drink from.


What do bats drink?

Bats ingest both blood and water (for the vampire species among them). They also consume a wide range of other drinks for various reasons. Actually, both during the day and at night, bats consume a lot of water from any nearby source.

What do brown bats drink?

Bats require water to drink as well. They ingest water as they fly across the surface. Little brown bats roost, or sleep, during the day. Only areas with secure locations to rest throughout the day are home to bats.

What fruits do bats eat?

Some bat species enjoy eating fruit, seeds, and flower pollen. Fructivores are the name for these bats. Mangoes, dates, bananas, and figs are some of their favorite foods. Sugar water from hummingbird feeders has been known to be consumed by some frugivores.

Do brown bats drink water?

Many people are unaware that bats also live near a water supply so they can both drink at the same time. They actually consume a fair amount of water, and this is especially true if the bat is lactating or pregnant. They need to drink significantly more water because their bodies are under more stress.


Like it? Share with your friends!

Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author