With close to 1000 different types of bats, it shouldn't be surprising that bats eat a lot of different types of food. They are also great hunters able to locate the faintest sounds and smallest movement. So what do bats eat?
Most bats eat insects and are called insectivores. These bats like to eat beetles, moths, mosquitoes, and more. And they sure do eat a lot of insects. Did you know that one little brown bat can eat up to 500 mosquito-sized insects in an hour? Now that's a lot of insects. And some bat colonies have millions of bats! Just imagine how many more insects there might be without these insectivorous bats.
There are some bats that like to eat fruit, seeds, and pollen from flowers. These bats are called frugivores. Their favorite foods are figs, mangoes, dates, and bananas. Some frugivores have been known to drink sugar water from humming bird feeders.
So what other types of food do bats eat? There are bats that eat birds, fish, frogs, lizards, even other bats. There are even bats that drink blood. These are called vampire bats. There are only 3 types of vampire bats and they all live in Central and South America. And don't worry – vampire bats do not like to drink human blood. They mainly get blood from cows, sheep, and horses. To get blood, vampire bats make a small cut in a sleeping animals skin and lap up a little bit of blood. Vampire bats only need about 2 teaspoons of blood a day – that's such a small amount that often times the cow or sheep doesn't even wake up while the bat is feeding.
Wilson, Don. 1997. Bats in Question. The Smithsonian Answer Book. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. 168p.
Elizabeth Hagen. (2009, November 04). Bat Food. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved February 1, 2023 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/bat-food
Elizabeth Hagen. "Bat Food". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 04 November, 2009. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/bat-food
Elizabeth Hagen. "Bat Food". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 04 Nov 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 1 Feb 2023. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/bat-food