What do bats eat?
Bats are mammals which means they must consume nutrients to survive.
Most bats eat insects, other small invertebrates (animals without bones), fruits, and nectar.
But some bats also dine on fish, amphibians, birds, and even other bats!
While it is widely thought that bats only feed at night, many species actually feed during the day as well.
A small number of bats migrate to colder regions in the winter.
They will also feed on insects they find under the snow.
In fact, some species of molossid bats which live in Antarctica have been known to dive through the ice as thick as 24 inches (60cm) in order to capture fish from below!
What Bats Eat
The most common type of bat diet is insects.
Insectivorous bats are found in all regions of the world and account for 70% of all bats.
Bats are excellent insect predators, capable of consuming thousands of insects every night.
An average-sized house bat may eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in one hour!
The duration and frequency of their feeding depend on the species and time of year.
For instance, some bat species do not feed every night, while others will continue to eat for an hour or more after dark.
Most bats feed until just before dawn, but some have been known to continue hunting in the middle of the day.
Different Bat Diets
The other types of bats’ diets are nectar and pollen, fruit, fish, birds, and other bats.
Nectar-eating bats obtain a sugary liquid in the same way that bees do: by drinking flower nectar or gathering it from plants.
Some species of bats have evolved to pollinate specific types of flowers during their nightly raids on flowers for nectar.
Fruit-eating bats get their food from eating fruit.
Fruit-eating bats get more than just food from fruits, such as vitamin A and C.
They also spread seeds for plants in their droppings.
The part of a plant that is spread this way with the seed is called a fruit because it forms before the actual flower opens to bear fruit.
Fish-eating bats catch their prey as it swims by at the water’s surface, and eat it right there without flying back to land.
They use echolocation to find fish swimming below them in darkness or murky water.
Then they use a special type of flight maneuver called a “dip” to pick up the fish.
Birds-eating bats can easily fly through even thick forests to find their prey, often catching birds in mid-air.
These bats tend to be less maneuverable than fruit or nectar-eating bats, but many other species of bats rely on insects for food.
Bat-eating bats are the only mammals known to prey on other species of bats.
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