Scary Bats And Where They Live

We can’t help but thinks of bats at Halloween when we picture them flying around a haunted house or when a vampire turns himself into one. Here are some true scary bats and what they feed on.

Vampire bats

These are a leaf-nosed bat that currently are found in Central and South America. Their food source is the blood of other animals, a dietary trait called hematophagy. They make a small incision with their sharp front teeth and lap up the blood with their tongue.

There are three known species of vampire bats, they are the common vampire bat, the hairy-legged vampire bat and the white-winded vampire bat.

Hematophagy is uncommon due to the number of challenges to overcome for success: a large volume of liquid potentially overwhelming the kidneys and bladder, the risk of iron poisoning, and coping with excess protein.

Vampire bats tend to live in colonies in almost completely dark places, such as caves, old wells, hollow trees, and buildings. They range in Central to South America and live in arid to humid, tropical and subtropical areas. Vampire bat colony numbers can range from single digits to hundreds in roosting sites.

Vampire bats form strong bonds with other members of the colony. A related unique adaptation of vampire bats is the sharing of food. A vampire bat can only survive about two days without feeding, yet they cannot be guaranteed of finding food every night. This poses a problem, so when a bat fails to find food, it will often “beg” another bat for food. A “donor” bat may regurgitate a small amount of blood to sustain the other member of the colony.

Vampire bats hunt only when it is fully dark. Like fruit-eating bats, and unlike insectivorous and fish-eating bats, they emit only low-energy sound pulses. The common vampire bat feeds primarily on the blood of mammals (occasionally including humans, but very rare), whereas both the hairy-legged vampire bat and white-winged vampire bat feed primarily on the blood of birds.

Vampire bats, like snakes, have developed highly sensitive thermosensation, with specialized systems for detecting infrared radiation.

Rabies can be transmitted to humans and other animals by vampire bat bites. Bats that are infected may be clumsy, disoriented, and unable to fly.

Bats have an easier time flying when they start already in the air. They use their front claws on their wings to climb to a high spot and launch themselves to achieve flight. Another reason they hang upside down is because a bat’s talons or back claws work opposite of most muscles.

Vampire bats live up to nine years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity.

Giant golden-crowned flying fox

Now this bat I would hate to see outside my home, looking more like a real life vampire.

This species is found in the Philippines and one of the biggest of all bats in the world. It is among the heaviest of all bat species, with individuals weighing up to 1.40 kg (3.1 lb) and the largest wingspan of 5.6 feet.

The giant golden-crowned flying fox gets its common name from its fur coloration. It has golden coloration that begins between its eyes and terminates to a narrow “V” shape at the nape of its neck, though sometimes extending to the upper shoulders.

This bat eats plant leaves and mostly fruit. (figs)

The Giant Golden-crowned Flying Fox is named for the distinctive golden fur on their head. This coloring also earns them their other common name, the Golden-capped Fruit Bat.

Spotted bat

The spotted bat can be identified by is large ears which have a pinkish tone. Its body is jet-black in color with two large white spots on its shoulders and one white spot on its rump. The fur on its underbelly is snow-white. The wings are also pink in color.

The spotted bat is an insectivore, which means it eats a variety insects with moths being its food of choice. They tear off the wings of the moth and eat only the abdomen.

The spotted bat prefers arid regions, desert scrub, and open forest in rugged landscapes. They roost on vertical cliffs and in open canyons. Their habitat always seems to be associated with a water source such as a spring, creek, river or lake.

  • The ears of the spotted bat are rolled up around its head when it is resting. When the bat becomes active they inflate with blood and unroll.
  • Unlike most other bats, the spotted bat is solitary and territorial.
  • This is one of the few bats who’s echolocation sound is low enough to be heard by humans.

Tilda’s Yellow-Shouldered Bat

Tilda’s Yellow-Shouldered Bat is a bat species found in South America. We feel bad if you’re from that part of the world because you might run into this ugly looking beast.

This bat gets its name from the yellow and orange patches of fur that males have on the glands of their shoulders. These glands are used to attract females.

Hairy yellow-shouldered bats are frugivorous, with their favoured food being the fruit of the pepper plants and various species of Solanum. They are nocturnal, spending the day roosting in hollow trees.

Hammer-headed bat

It is a megabat widely distributed in West and Central Africa. The hammer-headed bat is frugivorous, consuming a variety of fruits such as figs, bananas, and mangoes, though a few instances of carnivory have been noted. Females tend to travel a consistent route to find predictable fruits, whereas males travel more to find the highest quality fruit.

It forages at night, sleeping during the day in tree roosts. Individuals may roost alone or in small groups. Unlike many other bat species that segregate based on sex, males and females will roost together during the day.

As a frugivorous species, the hammer-headed bat is sometimes considered a pest of fruit crops. Its ability to produce extremely loud vocalizations means that some consider it one of Africa’s most significant nocturnal pests. Humans hunt this large bat and consume it as bushmeat. It is eaten in Nigeria. Bushmeat refers to raw or minimally processed meat that comes from wild animals in certain regions of the world, including Africa and other areas, and may pose a communicable disease risk.


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