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What Do Bats Eat?

what-do-bats-eat

ANSWER:

Different bat species have different feeding habits but the majority of bat species feed on insects, beetles, and gnats.

Insectivores

Nearly 60-70% of all bat species are insectivores, feeding primarily on insects.  Bats feed at night so nearly any insect that flies at night is prey for these nocturnal predators.  Bats will eat gnats, mayflies, moths, crickets, beetles, flies, and even wasps. Mosquitoes are a favorite making the bat an important ally to humans.

Carnivores

Less than one percent of all bat species are carnivorous.  Depending on the species they eat a variety of vertebrates including rodents, birds, fish, frogs, a variety of arthropods, and even blood.

Rodents etc. The false vampire bat is one example of a carnivorous species.  These bats feed on everything from rodents, frogs, fish, lizards, insects, spiders, and birds.   Some species even eat other bats.

Frogs.  Another carnivorous bat is the frog eating bat, which has the ability to discriminate between frog calls to distinguish poisonous from non-poisonous species.  These bats are able to consume up to 40 frogs in one evening.

Fish. Some bat varieties are specialized fishers. They float over the top of the water and use their echolocation to find fish near the surface, which they grab with their sharp claws.

Blood.  The intimidating in appearance vampire bat is the only mammal that feeds only on blood.  These nocturnal feeders prey primarily on cows and horses but have been known to feed on humans.  Unlike the theatrical vampires, these bats don’t drink enough blood to harm their victims but their bite can result in disease and infection.

Vegetarians

Some species of bats, such as the fruit bat, eat fruits, nectar, and pollen and are an important part of the pollination and seed dispersal of their food source.

 

Resources

Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Bat Facts.” Smithsonian. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. http://www.si.edu/ Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/batfacts.htm

“What Bats Eat | Bat Conservation.” Bat Conservation. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <http://www.batconservation.org/drupal/art-what-bats-eat>.

French, Barbara. “False Vampires and Other Carnivores.” BATS Magazine 15.2 (1997): 1. Print.

“Common Vampire Bats, Common Vampire Bat Pictures, Common Vampire Bat Facts – National Geographic.” Animals – Animal Pictures – Wild Animal Facts – Nat Geo Wild – National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/common-vampire-bat/>.

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