Bats might seem a bit scary if you saw them flying around your home, but when it comes to the question of, “what do bats eat?” they do play an important role in natural pest control.
Are all bats vampires?
“What do bats eat?” is a common question, and if all the movies were correct, bats are just vampires and drink blood. In reality, there are thousands of species of bats and a variety of eating habits.
Vampire bats are actually the smallest group and only have three species that exist. Contrary to popular belief, vampire bats rarely if ever drink human blood. They typically feed on other sleeping mammals and birds.
Vampire bats have evolved into having some rather unique abilities to aid them in finding prey. They have a sophisticated hearing ability, which allows them to distinguish how their prey is breathing. They can even determine if their prey is sleeping or awake, based on breathing patterns.
Vampire bats even have the ability to detect infrared radiation to find the best spots to feed from animals and to detect them during complete darkness.
Their saliva also has unique properties and it can work similarly to an anti-coagulant that keeps the blood from clotting, which makes it easier for them to feed. Vampire bats only drink about an ounce of blood in a sitting, which doesn’t sound like much, but for them, it could be up to one third of the bat’s body weight.
Another food bats eat is fruit
A much more common variety of bats are fruit bats with well over 100 different species on record. These bats have a wide range of shapes and sizes. Some fruit bats can be as small as a few ounces and others can be up to several pounds.
Fruit bats also eat a variety of different kinds of fruits and some even feed from nectar in flowers. Depending on what kinds of fruit each species eat, they can have different adaptations to make feeding easier. Some fruit bats have teeth specially designed to chew through fruits with a tough rind and exterior, while others have longer tongues to feed on nectar deep inside flowers.
Forget the knife and fork for dinner, as some fruit bats bring an extremely long tongue to the table. Each fruit bat species has differing lengths of tongues, but in some species, their tongue can be up to 150% the length of their body. For humans that would be like drinking a glass of water from anywhere from 7 to 9 feet away!
Probably the best part of what bats eat are the bats that are insectivores
Bats that eat insects actually like to eat one of the most annoying ones out there…Mosquitoes. A single little brown bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes an hour! Not a bad option for mosquito pest control if you don’t mind bats.
Insectivore bats don’t just eat mosquitoes but other pests like beetles, moths, and more. Most bats in this category have exceptional hearing and can detect insects walking around on the ground and hear insects from far away.
These are the most common bats you are going to find near your home. Bats of this type tend to live in trees, caves, under bridges, or in man made structures with low activity, such as sheds and barns. On rare occasions bats can make their way into your attic, home, or sometimes chimney.
Bat removal is not something you should attempt to do on your own. It can be very dangerous without proper equipment and training. Some bats can also carry rabies in rare circumstances. Oddly enough, even though very few bats carry rabies, almost all cases that happen in humans come from bats.
In most cases, bat exclusion isn’t done by capturing the bat and forcibly removing them, it’s done by letting them naturally leave your home or business and then sealing up the entry points before they return so they cannot get back in.
If you are concerned with bats in your home or business contact a pest control company or wild life removal service that is properly trained to handle the safe removal of bats.
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