What do bats eat?
Bat Diet: Most people think of all bats as bloodsuckers, and they are often associated with vampires, but in reality, only a tiny percentage of bats feed on blood. The diet of bats is dependent on the bat species that you are dealing with. About 70% of bats feed on insects and small bugs, and this makes them insectivores. Most of the rest are frugivores meaning that they feed on fruits.
Bats that feed on fruits will look for what fruits are available in that season, although they avoid bright-colored fruits. They also consume nectar and pollen when there are no fruits around to survive. The bats that feed on insects and bugs are opportunistic feeders; they will feed on anything that they see. Those that are blood feeders will consume blood from frogs, fish, and small animals.
Most bats use their echolocation process to sense movements and vibrations around them, and so they have an advantage over their prey. Some studies have shown that even in complete darkness, a bat can use this process to find and capture its prey. Bats have very sharp teeth, and they use them to penetrate their prey.
A bat will typically consume about 1/3 of its body weight, and this can add up fast to tons of insects for those bats that feed on insects. This means that without bats around, the population of insects will be extremely high, and so will be the diseases that those insects cause.
Insectivorous bats consume two types of insects; the aerial insects that fly and the ground-dwelling insects. Bats eat aerial insects in a very fast motion, they catch the insects with their tail while in flight, and then they will stop and consume them. The bats swoop down to get the ground-dwelling insects and will often stay on the ground long enough to consume them, and then they will continue their flight.
Frugivorous bats avoid bright colored and strong-smelling fruits. They pierce through the fruit with their teeth and suck the juice out of it. The bats spit out the seed and pulp of the fruits, and that is how they scatter the seeds everywhere and spread them out. The bats that consume nectar from flowers use their long tongues to reach the nectar. These bats have the highest risk of extinction, and the fact is that they often struggle to find enough nectar and food and so they have to work more than insectivorous and frugivorous bats to survive.
The percentage of bats that feed on vertebrates is very small and they are the carnivores of the bat world. They feed on frogs, lizards, small birds, and other species of bats. Fish is their favorite meal, and only the Vampire Bat feeds on just blood.
Most people believe that bats do not drink water, but this is not true. Bats also drink water; some can even drink water while they are flying, but most of the time, they will land in the water. Bats are very interesting creatures; they do not drink water directly from the chest but prefer to lick what is on their chest.
Each bat type has modifications and adaptations to help them in their feeding patterns.