Like any other organism, bats play a key role in the ecosystem. You can find them living in rainforests or deserts but what makes them unique is the fact that they are flying mammals. Also, these animals hunt at night and sleep during the day. This behavior, coupled up with their ability to sense obstacles and predators, makes them safe from most predators.
However, there are some members of the ecosystem that have figured out the bat’s behavior. Some fly in suddenly out of nowhere and grab them. Others hunt the bats during the day when they are asleep. That said, let us have a look at some of the most common predators of this mammal.
Most Common Predators of Bats
Being a member of class Mammalia doesn’t make bats any safer from the fellow mammals. Raccoons, for one, are known for their predation on bats. They climb to bats’ habitats and feast on them while they are asleep during the day. Alternatively, they may decide to wait around the bat’s roosting areas and grab them as they enter or exit the premises.
According to studies, there are bat-eating spiders in almost every continent. The only place where bats can escape such organisms in Antarctica. Spiders may look small in size but bats are also equally small. The only things that make bats seem big in size are the wings.
While they are asleep, spiders climb to the bat’s roosting places and pounce on them. In fact, they are not the only small organisms proven to do this. Centipedes are also among the most dangerous predators of bats. Like spiders, they climb up to where the bats sleep and incapacitate them. They then start feasting on a hanging bat and will follow them to ground in case they fall off.
Apart from the usual beef and chicken meat, bat meat is a source of food in certain areas. The most famous region where this is a norm in East Asia. Some areas in Africa and Europe also do the same. Research shows that bats have been consumed by East Asians since time immemorial. In fact, scientists estimate it to about 74,000 years ago.
People in the mentioned areas hunt on these mammals during the day when they are asleep. More than 167 bat species across the globe are in danger of being hunted by humans. There are some speculations that recent viruses such as Ebola and SARS originated from bats. However, it is not conclusive yet and research is still on-going to ascertain these claims.
Some people think that bats are birds just because they have wings. Well, they aren’t but they are afraid of some birds. In 2009, scientists discovered a certain species that hunts and attacks bats before feasting on them. This species was discovered in Hungary but research also shows that they opted for bats because of food shortage.
Nonetheless, these mammals are always in danger of being knocked down by these predators of bats. After grabbing them either in the sky or on rocks, they carry their prey to the nearby trees. In Britain, the Great Tit is a known bat-eating bird and its size gives it an advantage over the bats.
5. Fish and Bullfrogs
Unusual predators of bats are fish. You might be wondering how a fish can attack bats when it’s always in the water. It looks even less possible considering the fact that bats also rely on fish for food in certain regions. Well, it is totally possible and some fish species have mastered the art. They wait right until when the bats fly close to the water surface then grab them and suffocate them in water.
Bullfrogs also do the same as they use their powerful jaws to pounce on the prey before dragging them under the water. These marine animals are known for eating everything, including their fellow bullfrogs. Therefore, it is no surprise that they may opt for bats from time to time.
6. Fellow bats
In some classes of the animal kingdom, size determines the predators and preys. As for bats, the larger ones in the group may feast on smaller ones whenever they are hungry. It is a matter of survival for the fittest and the small-sized bats are usually disadvantaged. However, this only happens if they share the same habitat.
We end our list of predators of bats with snakes, an another group of animals that sometimes depends on bats for food. It’s worth noting that not all snake species feast on bats. In fact, it may depend on the habitat and whether there is a lack of food. In Cuba, for instance, some snakes have been found hunting on sleeping bats.
What’s amazing is that these snakes took part in group hunting. According to one Cuban researcher, these bat predators went looking for their prey in the caves. It took them less time to capture bats when they worked as a group.
There you have it, a list of animals that predate on bats. Perhaps the most dangerous of them all are humans. Their intelligence surpasses that of any other mammal or animal for that matter. As such, they outwit the bats during the night or when they are asleep. Statistics show that the number of bats is drastically falling due to an increasing group of predators.
However, the list above does not exhaust all the predators. One of those that you could argue should be on the list is the White Nose Syndrome. This is a disease that’s common in the United States and has killed over 5.7 million bats. Indiana myotis and gray myotis are two bat species that have suffered the most and could go extinct in the near future.
I hope that this article on bat predators was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Animal Facts Page!