What Animals Eat Bats?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton

Although bats are small, like rodents, they’re more closely related to primates and humans than mice or rats. Bats are also incredibly long-lived for their size.

Bats have a fantastic ability to use radar to avoid obstacles and predators, but some predators have these night-flyers figured out. Some predators swoop suddenly out of nowhere, grabbing bats in flight before the bats can react. Others wait until daylight, when the bats sleep, to attack them in their roosts.

It is pretty interesting that, like other swift predators, bats also fall prey to some other high-ranking predators. So what predators eat bats? Let’s find out.    

Bats and Predators

Bats are pretty good at dodging the animals that can eat them, but they’re not great at avoiding disease. Sick bats can become an easy meal for any animal willing to eat them.

Do Birds Eat Bats?

Birds have an advantage over mammals because they can catch bats in flight. In addition, the narrow openings of many roosts cause bats to group together, making it easier for birds to grab and feast on them.

Owls

The owl is notorious for hunting and eating bats. Owls are also nocturnal, with excellent eyesight and long sharp talons to catch their prey.

Hawks

Hawks are birds of prey with unique feeding and mating habits. Like owls, they have perfect eyesight. Hawks can fly extremely high and be swift when catching their prey. Once they lock onto their prey, they do not release it until they have finished eating.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine falcons are among some of the most common birds of prey. This is because they are fast-flying birds and can reach speeds of up to 200 miles an hour to catch their prey.

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Mammals That Eat Bats

A variety of mammals eat bats. 

Cats

Cats enjoy eating bats, just like other small rodents. A considerable proportion of their bat hunt is achieved when the cats climb to where bats are roosting. Cats are relatively effective at night, with a good hearing ability and long tails to aid their balance.

Mink

Mink will eat virtually anything they can catch and kill, including fish, birds, bird eggs, insects, crabs, clams, small mammals, and bats. There are seasonal and annual differences in the diet depending on what is available.

Raccoons

Raccoons climb into areas where bats roost and eat them while they sleep during the day. These mammals also wait outside a roosting bat area to pounce on bats as they enter and exit the roost.

Weasels

A roost of bats could be relatively easy to sneak up on, depending on the stealth skills of the hunter. Unfortunately, raccoons love to grab bats from the roost, and the same is true of minks and weasels.

Do Reptiles Eat Bats?

Crocodiles

Low-flying bats are no match for a crocodile, especially when caught between the crocodile’s teeth.  Crocodiles eat bats even from the river banks.  They catch bats when they unsuspectingly fly in-between the frozen mouth of the crocodile.   

Snakes

Many snakes, especially in warmer tropical areas, love to spend time in caves, and the way they move allows them to get up high.

In many cases, snakes, primarily large ones, don’t have any issues grabbing bats straight out of the roost by slithering up cave walls.

Also, more giant snakes that sleep and live high up within the jungle treetops find many bat species to be easy to catch, as they often roost and rest in the same areas.

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Insects and Arachnids That Prey on Bats

Bats always appear bigger than they are, and this has to do with their wide wingspan. On the other hand, bat bodies typically are small; the light brown bat, for example, has a body about 4 inches long and weighs less than half an ounce. 

Centipedes

The bat’s small body makes them suitable prey for centipedes. They are usually longer than the bat’s body and can crawl up to the roost and extend their bodies down beside a bat. They attack the bat from the head, then eat their fill. If they fall, the centipede can continue to munch from the roost floor. 

Spiders

Spiders might also jump to feast on a fallen bat, although some can catch bats while they sleep, suspended from the ceiling of the roost. These spiders, such as tarantulas, are large, often 4 to 6 inches, and some use webs to entrap the bats.

Do Fish and Frogs Eat Bats?

Some fish wait until the bats fly close to the top of the water in search of insects and grab them from below. Bullfrogs use a similar technique, lying in wait until a bat flies close enough to catch.

Do Bats Eat Other Bats?

The spectral bat is exclusively carnivorous and consumes birds, rodents, and other species of bats.  It also consumes beetles and insects.  

Spectral bats prey on other bats opportunistically.  They prey mainly on the highland yellow-shouldered bat, Geoffroy’s tailles bat, Pallas’s long-tongued bat, and small fruit-eating bats.

Humans and Bats

People eat bats in some parts of Asia, Africa, and Pacific Rim countries and cultures, including China, Vietnam, Seychelles, the Philippines, Indonesia, Palau, Thailand, and Guam.

Half of the megabat (fruit bat) species are hunted for food, but only eight percent of the insectivorous bat species are.  

How Do Bats Elude Predators?

Bats are small, very fast, and blend in with their natural dark surroundings.  When they roost, they are sleeping or resting and do not make much noise.  This makes it harder for predators to find them.

Summary

The natural predators of bats catch them in various ways, including snatching them out of the sky, sneaking up on the roost, or pouncing on them when they exit and enter the nest.  

Many more animals than those that have been mentioned here eat bats. However, it takes an exceptional and skilled predator to know where to find them and hunt them.

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