Irrespective of the species, most bats have the same feeding behavior hence the generalization regarding what they eat. So, what do bats eat?
Let’s take a look.
What Foods Do Bats Eat?
Bats are well-known flying mammals that are mostly nocturnal. These creatures can be found in just about all types of habitats ranging from woodlands, deserts, caves, cities, and suburban communities.
This is why you’re likely to have seen bats a couple of times.
A lot about these creatures remains a mystery.
Generally, people have little knowledge about bat behavior as well as what they eat. If you care to know, this article provides you with all the information you need.
Part of the reason why some people are curious to learn about bats is due to their incursion into human dwellings.
As a buildup towards unveiling the feeding behavior of bats, it’s necessary to also consider the different species available.
There are several species of bats among which are the Mexican free-tailed bat, little brown bat, big brown bat, brown long-eared bat, hoary bat, Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, and the eastern red bat.
Other species include the western red bat, silver-haired bat, Indiana bat, common pipistrelle, greater mouse-eared bat, tricolored bat, and the spotted bat.
More bat species include Townsend’s big-eared bat, the common noctule, greater horseshoe bat, and the pallid bat just to name a few.
Bat Feeding Behavior
Bat nutrition is vital towards understanding how they behave and how best to control them.
These mammals are known to feed mainly on insects. They are excellent insect feeders with a single bat eating almost its own body weight in insects each night.
Luckily, most of the insects being fed on are pests such as mosquitoes, but the bat diet isn’t restricted to insects alone. These creatures also feed on fruits (by piercing and sucking out their juices), pollen, and nectar.
What more? Some bat varieties feed on blood! Yea, you read that right.
These are called vampire bat species, and target sleeping animals to get their fill of blood. Sounds scary right? It is! Luckily your chances of coming across such species are pretty slim to none due to their limited population.
So, do they feed on human blood? Not at all! Such bats prefer the blood of larger animals. Examples of these animals include horses, cows, and other similar creatures.
Because they’re most active at night, this is when they draw blood while the animal sleeps.
If you’re wondering if the animal dies after such feeding happens, they do not die. As a matter of fact, these flying mammals are so effective in feeding that the animal never notices and won’t even wake up.
Because you’re unlikely to come across this species, let’s consider some of the most commonly seen ones.
Feeding on Insects
Are bats that swift and fast that they’re able to get to feed on lots of insects?
They absolutely are. The most common types of insects being fed on by bats include mosquitoes, beetles, gnats, moths, wasps, and flies.
These insects are devoured on being fed on in flight.
That explains the constant maneuvers in flight as they pursue highly evasive moths among other pests. As stated earlier, bats are so successful in feeding on insects that they consume almost their body weight every night.
Feeding on Fruits
Insects are just one of several food sources targeted by ants. Fruits serve as an alternative for bats. Now, some readers may assume that the sharp teeth of bats help them feed on fruits.
The reality is quite different. While it’s true that these mammals have sharp teeth, it isn’t used for chewing and swallowing fruit.
Bats mostly feed by piercing through fruit skin and sucking its juices. That’s as simple as it gets. Most of such feeding action is done in flight as they won’t have to touch the ground to feed.
This excellent feeding adaption makes them thrive in almost all locations they find themselves.
When sucking out fruit juices, the pulp and seeds are spit out, thus creating a mess. This is most evident around areas with lots of fruit trees. You may have noticed fruit pulp scattered around.
It’s easy to point to bats as being the culprits when there’s a large bat population within the area.
Feeding on Pollen
Did you know that bats feed on pollen? As a matter of fact, such feeding behavior contributes to pollination. It sounds kind of off but certain bat species really are pollinators.
This is most common around tropical and desert climates.
This feeding activity makes bats beneficial creatures or mammals as they help with plant productivity due to pollination. They move about from plant to plant in search of these pollens, thus indirectly collecting and depositing same on different plant varieties.
For pollen feeding to be possible, bats must be able to reach inside the flower. They have specially adapted tongues that help them do just that.
Feeding on Nectar
Another food eaten by bats is nectar.
Quite a lot of people erroneously think only bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other nectar-feeding insects do this. Nectar-containing flowers are mostly targeted by bats.
Just like pollens, they must reach down using their tongues to get to the nectar.
This is quite easy for them as their tongues are specially adapted for such feeding activity. The feeding behavior of these flying mammals tells a lot about how they’re able to thrive around human dwellings as well as in the wild.
If Bats Feed on these, what Brings them Indoors?
Most of the time you find bats indoors; they get in through the usual entry points like open doors and windows. Now there’s a real fear that such bats might belong to the vampire species but that isn’t necessarily true.
Such bats might have chased moths and other insects and entered right into your home. In other cases, these bats may simply be looking for a cool shelter to harbor them in. There are other things that can attract bats.
So, it’s best to have these removed as soon as possible. Bats could also get in through cracks.
You’ll need to inspect your walls or attic areas and have any opening properly sealed to keep these flying mammals from returning. Of course, you’ll need to first have them excluded or removed before sealing up the entry points.
If you’ve read to this point, you’re likely to have learned a thing or two about the feeding habit of bats. Now that you know, you’re able to better control their presence around your property.