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Do Owls Eat Bats? Get The Full Story

owl flying at night

One question that often comes up in discussions with fellow bird enthusiasts is whether owls eat bats.

After researching, I found that the answer is a resounding YES.

In fact, some species of owls, such as the great horned owl, tawny owl, and barn owl, are all known to consume bats as a regular part of their diet.

In this article, we will explore the topic of whether owls eat bats in more detail, looking at the different species of owls that consume bats, how they hunt them, and the potential impact that this has on bat populations.

Do Owls Eat Bats?

Yes, owls do eat bats.

While owls are primarily known for their ability to hunt small mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects, bats are also a part of their diet. However, it's important to note that not all owls eat bats regularly.

Owls typically only feed on bats when they can't find other suitable prey. Despite this, it's clear that there is a symbiotic relationship between these nocturnal creatures, with bats serving as a potential food source for owls, and owls helping to control bat populations.

Opportunistic Predators

Owls are opportunistic predators, meaning they will take advantage of any opportunity to catch suitable prey.

This includes bats, which are often found flying at night when owls are hunting. Owls are able to catch bats in mid-air by using their sharp talons to grab them out of the air.

They may also catch bats while they are roosting in trees or other structures.

do owls eat bats? Great horned owl hunting

Bats: A Common Prey for Owls?

As an avid bird watcher, I have often wondered about the dietary habits of owls. One question that comes up frequently is do owls eat bats. After conducting some research and observing owls in the wild, I can confidently say that bats are indeed a common prey for owls.

Owls are nocturnal hunters that prey on a variety of creatures, including rodents, snakes, birds, insects, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and even other birds. However, bats are a particularly attractive food source for many owl species.

Some of the most commonly preyed upon bat species include the hoary bat, myotis bat, little brown bat, evening bat, and big brown bat. These bats are often found roosting in caves, mines, bridges, and even the walls of buildings. Their small size and tendency to roost in groups make them vulnerable to owl predation.

While bats are not the primary source of nutrition for owls, they do make up a significant portion of their diet. According to some studies, owls can consume up to 1,000 bats in a single year.

It's worth noting that bats face many threats in the wild, including habitat loss, white-nose syndrome, and other diseases. The fact that owls prey on bats is just one of the many challenges that these flying mammals face.

In conclusion, bats are indeed a common prey for owls. While they are not the only creatures that owls hunt, they do make up a significant portion of their diet. As a bird watcher, it's fascinating to observe the complex relationships between different species in the wild, and the relationship between owls and bats is one that is particularly intriguing.

Read Also: Owl Symbolism - What Does it Mean to See One?


After conducting research on the topic, I have found that owls eat bats, but it is not their primary source of food. Owls are skilled hunters and their diet consists of a variety of prey, including insects, rodents, birds, and even other owls. Bats are just one of the many types of prey that most owls may consume.

While some owl species are known to eat bats more frequently than others, it is important to note that not all owls will consume bats. Owls have a diverse diet and will eat whatever prey is available in their habitat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Types of Owls Eat Bats?

Barn owls, tawny owls, great horned owls, the barred owl, and the eastern screech owl have all been observed eating bats.

What is the Relationship Between Owls and Bats?

Owls and bats are both nocturnal creatures that hunt at night, so it's not surprising that they share some similarities in their behavior and habitat. However, they are not closely related.

Owls are birds, while bats are mammals. Some species of bats are preyed upon by owls, but they also play an important role in the ecosystem by pollinating plants and controlling insect populations.

Do Owls Scare Bats?

Yes, it is possible that the presence of an owl could scare bats away from an area, but it's not clear how common this is. Bats have a highly developed sense of hearing and are able to detect the presence of predators like owls, so they may be able to avoid them.

However, some species of bats are known to roost in trees or other areas where they are vulnerable to attack by owls, so it's possible that owls could have an impact on bat populations in such areas.

Read Also: What Makes Owls Hoot?

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