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Nature Notebook – Bats Don’t Eat Mosquitoes

Bats are mosquito-eating machines, capable of eating 1,000 in one hour! Well…not really. Although bats do eat mosquitoes and are capable of eating large amounts, they seem to prefer other insects. Moths and beetles are the favorites of most insectivorous bats.

However, bats are opportunistic feeders. They don’t chase one prey item to the exclusion of others. If they can catch it, they eat it. Bigger bugs are easier to catch and, milligram-for-milligram, provide more nutrition. If they happen upon a swarm of mosquitoes then the meal du jour is mosquito.

Bats don’t “protect” hunting territories but they will attempt to thwart rival hunters. They produce a sound that interferes with the echolocation abilities of same-species bats. The sweep jamming causes the rivals to miss their targets more than 80% of the time.