When you think of bats, you probably already have some notion formed about these little creatures. Whether you have had them in your house or seen them in the summer, you can find bats all over the world. Although, what exactly do they do during the day?
Bats most commonly sleep during the day in places like caves, bridges, trees, mines, buildings, and rock crevices. Since bats are nocturnal, you will not see them out during peak day hours and instead, you’ll begin to see bats flying just after sunset.
As stated above, you can find bats in almost every part of the world, and they are often responsible for our tropical fruits. Keep reading, and let’s explore the unique underworld of bats, and figure out what they do during the day and why!
Where Do Bats Go During The Day?
If you have ever been out during summer at night, there’s a good chance you have seen a bat zooming around just above your head.
They can look like birds flying around, except for their exceptionally fast speed and seemingly erratic behavior. But just exactly where do bats go during the day when the sun comes up?
Bats are nocturnal and some, probably most, we are familiar with are insectivorous bats, which are insect-eating bats. When bats are searching for prey, they eat thousands of insects every night, and can even eat the equivalent of their body weight in a night.
When bats leave their roosts at night, they search for water bodies to drink from before searching for a meal. The most common bat in North America is the little brown bat. It is an insectivore and finds food while flying and even crawling.
After bats finish their search for food in the evening, they return to their roosts at dawn in trees, caves, bridges, mines, buildings, rock crevices, and high up, dark places away from predators. However, each bat species requires a different roost or habitat to thrive.
If you want to learn more about bats and where they go during wintertime, check out our article on just what bats actually do during the winter!
Where Do Bats Live During The Day?
Bats are found in just about every habitat from the tropical islands of Hawaii, to the subarctic cold of Alaska and even Scandinavia. They also inhabit deserts, forests, tropical climates, mountain regions, oceans, and even the subarctic.
However, research studies have shown the majority of bats, roughly one-third, are found in the tropical climate regions of Central and South America.
The species of the bat will determine where exactly it lives. There are two categories or suborders of bats, microbats and megabats. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a suborder is just taxonomic categorization of groups of plants or animals that are closely related.
So, since we’ve covered what bats are and where they live, let’s dig into the details and discuss the differences between where microbats and megabats live.
Microbats are insectivores, occasionally eating rodents, small birds, fish, or amphibians. You will find them in temperate climates, between the tropical and polar regions, like the United States. Microbats are also the only bats that use echolocation to locate their prey.
Megabats, commonly known as flying foxes and rust bats, are frugivores and nectarivores, eating fruits, nectar, and pollen. You can only find them in hot, tropical, humid climates. Megabats do not use echolocation, nor do they need to, but have a strong sense of smell to locate their food.
What Time Of Day Are Bats Most Active?
If we are talking about the most common bat in North America, the little brown bat, these nocturnal bats leave their roosts after dusk to feed on insects. This usually happens around 2-3 hours after sunset.
Bats use the nighttime to eat, mate, and drink after roosting.
Did you know bats are most active during the fall? This is the time of year after bats have given birth and their pups are beginning to fly and learning to search for food on their own.
Once sunrise hits, bats return to their roosts where they will sleep for most of the day. They then leave again the following evening during the twilight hours to feed for the night.
Fun fact, bats don’t actually lay eggs. You can read more about how bats give birth any other bat facts here!
Bats Also Hibernate, But Not All Species!
This was certainly a surprise to me! Insects are the primary food source for bats, at least for the bats in North America. So, as soon as insects disappear and temperatures begin to drop, bats begin to sleep for the winter.
Although rabies is rare in bats, especially bats in the United States, it’s not considered normal behavior to see bats during the daytime. If this is the case and you become concerned, we recommend contacting wildlife professionals for advice!
If you think you have a bat or other wildlife problem in your home, we recommend contacting professional wildlife management for this!
You can use our nationwide wildlife control network and easily find a professional near you!
Where Do Bats Go When It Rains During The Day?
Do bats like the rain? What do they do in the rain? You might think, why would bats not like the rain? I thought this as well, but the answer will probably surprise you.
Bats will seek a dry place if it pours, and most likely will not be flying if it continues!
According to a study published in Biology Letters done on bats and rain, bats were found to use twice as much energy when flying when they got wet, as opposed to when they flew dry.
Surprisingly, it did not have to do with the weight of the water on their wings or have to do with the water itself. Since they are mammals, when they get wet and cold, they are working harder to stay warm.
So, if it rains on their way back home at dawn, you can bet they will seek shelter ASAP.
If you are looking to attract bats to your yard to eat all those pesky mosquitoes, then the KIBAGA Handcrafted Wooden Bat House Box is perfect for you! This chamber waterproof bat shelter creates an easy spot for bats to land year after year.
Benefits Of Bats
Bats are extremely beneficial animals and crucial to the ecosystem. Not only do bats eat insects, but they also help pollinate crops we humans consume!
Did you know there are over 500 species of flowers and plants that rely on bats to pollinate them? When nectar bats drink from flowers, the pollen sticks to their body and is brought to every plant it visits.
They also account for seed dispersal and prey for other animals. Additionally, bat guano is an amazing powerhouse of nutrients for plant fertilizer, offering a natural fungicide.
We’re going to cover some of the benefits of bats below, but you can check out the distinctive ways bats cause damage to your house here!
Pollinators And Insect Control
Lesser Long-Nosed Bats
This species of bats maintain desert ecosystems by pollinating desert plants! Its diet consists of the nectar of cacti and agave flowers, spreading pollen amongst the fragile desert plants.
The lesser long-nosed bat was listed as an endangered species in 1988, and now has a population of 200,000 bats between the southwestern United States and Mexico.
The Mariana fruit bat is commonly referred to as a flying fox. Unfortunately, flying fox bats are poached in other countries and are facing extinction.
The Mariana fruit bat is another pollinator bat, fertilizing fruits and nuts in the tropical regions of Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. This bat is an essential species in the health of forests and other watersheds.
Little Brown Bats
The little brown bat is the most common bat species in the United States eating thousands of insects every night, including mosquitoes and other crop-destroying insects.
Scientists have estimated bats are responsible for $4 billion in pest control in just the United States!
Mexican Long-Tongued Bats
The diet of this nectar bat species consists of pollen and nectar of desert cacti fruits and flowers. This species of bat is an essential pollinator in the southwestern portion of the United States and Mexico.
The Mexican long-tongued bat is known for moving pollen long distances. This bat, along with the lesser long-nosed bat, are just some of the species responsible for pollinating tropical fruit crops such as mangoes, bananas, and guavas.
Tent-roosting bats are frugivorous and use modified leaves as their roosts. These bats play an essential role in seed dispersal in disturbed landscapes. When bats ingest fruits, they then defecated the seeds in flight, dispersing the seeds.
Prey For Other Animals
Bats have very few natural predators. However, owls, hawks, snakes, and humans make up their biggest threats. Weasels, minks, and raccoons will also sneak into bat roosts during the day.
What Affects The Bat Population If They Aren’t Out During The Day?
So, if bats are nocturnal, do not come out during the day, and have few predators, what affects their population?
Aside from the few predators they have, disease and humans affect the bat population the most. White-nose syndrome is a disease hibernating bats can contract, and it severely affects bat populations.
Poaching is severely affecting the bat population too. Flying foxes are poached during the day when they are the most vulnerable, and their population is on the brink of extinction.
Keep reading to learn more about what’s affecting bat populations since they are not out during the day!
White-Nose Syndrome In Bats
Unfortunately, bats have become increasingly more plagued by white-nose syndrome and it is causing their populations to plummet.
White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that affects hibernating bats and is spreading across North America at exponential rates. It is a cold-loving fungus easily spread between bats, caves, and even shoes and equipment. According to the United States Fish & Wildlife Services, since 2006, white-nose syndrome has claimed more than 5 million bats.
However, conservation efforts and research are helping bat populations recover from habitat loss and the spreading affliction.
What Can You Do To Help Bats?
Here are some tips from the US Fish & Wildlife Service to help bats:
- Spread the good word about bats with family and friends
- Reduce pesticide usage since most bats around us are insectivores
- Promote a natural bat habitat by leaving some dead or dying trees
- Protect water quality
- Install bat houses!
- Avoid disturbing bats in caves where they may be hibernating in the winter
- Safely and humanely try to remove bats from your home and/or contact wildlife professionals
If you do install bat houses to eat all those pesky mosquitoes and insects destroying your garden, then the Wildlife Seekers USA – Premium Cedar Wood Bat House is perfect for you! This is a double chamber waterproof bat shelter and creates a peaceful spot for bats to land and roost comfortably.
If you think you have a bat in your house, check out our guide on the 6 things to do if you find a bat in your house!
That’s All We Have For Now!
Thanks for sticking around and reading all about bats, and where exactly they live during the day!
Let’s recap all the key facts about bats and what they do during the day we discussed in this article!
Bats are a nocturnal species! They only come out during the twilight hours, dusk and dawn. Bats navigate in darkness using echolocation and return to their roosts in caves, trees, and rock crevices.
When bats leave their roosts at night, the first thing they do is search for a water body to drink from before searching for food
The most common bat in North America is the little brown bat, which is an insectivorous bat.
After bats are done searching for food for the evening, they return to their roosts at dawn! Their roosts could be in trees, caves, bridges, mines, buildings, rock crevices, and places that are up high, away from predators, and dark, but depending on the bat species that will determine the habitat and roost they inhabit.
Bats are mammals and the only flying mammals at that! Bats have wings in place of arms and hands, their wings have skin and tiny bones. They also have large ears, and fur on their heads and their bodies.
There are over 1,300 species of bats worldwide and they can typically be found in almost every part of the world except the arctic!
There are two categories of bats: microbats and megabats. Both categories of bats are nocturnal and return to their roosts during the day.
Microbats are insectivorous bats that use echolocation to locate their food at night and to communicate with their surrounding environment.
Megabats are fruit bats that rely on their sense of smell to locate their food of flower, nectar, pollen, and fruit.
Some bat species also hibernate, but it depends on their climate!
Insects are the primary food source for bats, at least for the bats in North America. So, as soon as insects disappear and temperatures drop, bats begin to sleep for the winter.
Rabies is very rare in bats, especially bats in the United States.
During the day, if it rains, bats will seek shelter! Bats use twice as much energy when flying when they are wet, as opposed to when they are dry.
Bats are extremely beneficial animals and crucial to the ecosystem. Not only do bats eat insects, but they also help pollinate crops that we rely on!
Over 500 species of flowers and plants rely on bats to pollinate them. Bats pollinate when they drink nectar from flowers, the pollen sticks to their body and they bring it to every plant they visit.
Bats also account for seed dispersal in disturbed forest areas, as well as prey to other animals such as owls, hawks, and snakes. Bat guano is used as a sought-after plant fertilizer, and also offers a natural fungicide.
Bats are extremely susceptible to white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome affects only hibernating bats in cold weather regions.
More than half of the flying fox species of fruit bats are on the brink of extinction from government-sponsored culling, as well as poaching.
We hope you learned some exciting facts about the elusive bat species in this article and just exactly where they live during the day, and just how important they are to us as humans and the ecosystem!
If you think you have a bat issue in your home or another wildlife issue, we recommend contacting professional wildlife management for this!
Aldridge, H. D. J. N., & Rautenbach, I. L. (1987). Morphology, echolocation and resource partitioning in insectivorous bats. The Journal of Animal Ecology, 763-778.
Anthony, E. L. P., Stack, M. H., & Kunz, T. H. (1981). Night roosting and the nocturnal time budget of the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus: effects of reproductive status, prey density, and environmental conditions. Oecologia, 51(2), 151-156.
Blehert, David S., et al. “Bat white-nose syndrome: an emerging fungal pathogen?.” Science 323.5911 (2009): 227-227.
Griffin, Donald R., Frederic A. Webster, and Charles R. Michael. “The echolocation of flying insects by bats.” Animal behaviour 8.3-4 (1960): 141-154.
LaVal, R. K., Clawson, R. L., LaVal, M. L., & Caire, W. (1977). Foraging behavior and nocturnal activity patterns of Missouri bats, with emphasis on the endangered species Myotis grisescens and Myotis sodalis. Journal of Mammalogy 58.4 (1977): 592-599.
Voigt, Christian C., et al. “Rain increases the energy cost of bat flight.” Biology letters 7.5 (2011): 793-795.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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