Bats are nocturnal mammals that belong to the order Chiroptera, which means hand-wing in Greek.
These tiny creatures live all over the world, except in the Arctic and Antarctica, and they play an essential role in nature due to their insectivorous diet. Bats are unique in appearance since they are the only flying mammals on earth.
Because of this, bats are often the subject of many legends and myths, and people often think that they’re all just blood-sucking vampires out to get them. However, there are around 1,400 species of bats on earth today, and most aren’t even related to vampires!
Bats come in all different shapes and sizes and live in very different environments. But how much do you know about these fascinating animals?
This blog post will explore 28 different types of bats, their unusual behaviors, and what makes them unique.
How Many Types of Bats Are There?
There are over 1,400 different types of bats worldwide. Some bats can fly long distances, while others can only fly short distances. Some bats live in trees, while others live in caves. And some bats eat insects, while others eat fruit.
Different Types of Bats
1. Hoary Bat
The hoary bat is one of the most widespread and prominent members of the Lasiurus genus, and it is found in North, Central, and South America and the West Indies. These different types of bats have reddish-brown or gray fur and black wings.
The hoary bat is a solitary creature that roosts alone in trees during the day. It hunts for insects, moths, and other small prey at night.
2. Big Brown Bat
The big brown bat is one of the most common types of bats found in North America. These different types of bats are nocturnal creatures that often fly around at night, hunting for insects. Big brown bats are relatively large, with a wingspan reaching up to 16 inches.
They are dark brown, with a reddish hue on their belly. Big brown bats typically roost in trees or buildings during the day. In the winter, they may hibernate in caves or other sheltered areas.
3. Little Brown Bat
The little brown bat is one of North America’s most common types of bats. They are small, brown, and have a wingspan of about 9 inches. Little brown bats live in caves or trees and eat insects.
They are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are active at night. Little brown bats use echolocation to navigate and find food. This means they emit high-pitched sounds and listen to the echo to determine where objects are.
4. California Leaf-Nosed Bat
The California leaf-nosed bat is a medium-sized bat with distinctive large ears. These different types of bats are found in the western United States and Mexico. These bats roost in trees and caves during the day and forage for insects at night.
Leaf-nosed bats are essential pollinators of agave and cacti. They use echolocation to navigate and find their prey
5. Mexican Free-Tailed Bat
The Mexican free-tailed bat is a bat found in North, Central, and South America. These bats are one of the most abundant mammals in the world, with a population in the millions.
They roost in large groups in caves and buildings and are known for their loud calls. Mexican free-tailed bats are insectivores, and their diet consists mainly of moths. These different types of bats are important pollinators and seed dispersers for many plants.
6. Eastern Red Bat
The eastern red bat is a small bat with reddish-brown fur. It is found in the east of the United States, where it roosts in trees during the day and hunts insects at night.
This bat is unusual in that it often hangs upside down from its perch rather than hanging by its feet like most other bats.
When hunting, the eastern red bat catches its prey mid-air, using its tail to scoop them up. If you find an eastern red bat roosting in your yard, don’t worry – these different types of bats are harmless to humans and quite beneficial, as they eat many mosquitoes and other pests!
7. Great Fruit-Eating Bat
The great fruit-eating bat is one of the most significant bats in the world. They are found in tropical forests in South and Central America and feed primarily on fruits.
Significant fruit-eating bats are essential for seed dispersal and pollination. These different types of bats can live up to 25 years in the wild and have a wingspan of up to 6 feet!
8. Western Bonneted Bat
The Brazilian free-tailed bat is a species of bat that is found in South and Central America. These bats are small to medium in size with a wingspan of 8-10 inches. They are brown or gray with a long tail extending beyond their wing’s edge.
These different types of bats are known for their high activity level and loud, shrill calls. They roost in large groups and can often be seen flying during the day. Brazilian free-tailed bats are insectivores and eat a variety of insects, including moths, beetles, and mosquitoes.
9. Brazilian Free-tailed Bat
The Brazilian free-tailed bat is a species of bat that is found in South and Central America. These bats are characterized by long, narrow tails extending beyond their bodies’ length.
Brazilian free-tailed bats are one of the fastest flying mammals, capable of reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour!
These bats are also known for their high-pitched calls that can be heard long distances. Brazilian free-tailed bats typically roost in large groups in caves or other dark places.
10. Fishing Bat
The fishing bat is one of the most exciting types of bats. These creatures use echolocation to help them find fish in water, and they then dive down and snatch the fish with their claws.
These different types of bats are found in Africa, Asia, and Australia. They fly low over rivers and lakes at night, looking for fish.
When they find a good-sized meal, they dive down feet first. As they plunge into the water, their wings push against the surface, creating noise that echoes back as an echo sound pulse, letting them know how deep it is before they catch themselves on the bottom and snag a fish!
11. Northern Yellow Bat
The northern yellow bat is a small, endangered bat found in the southeastern United States, and it is one of the few species of bats known to roost in trees.
These different types of bats are nocturnal and insectivorous, feeding on moths, beetles, and other small insects.
Northern yellow bats are social creatures living in colonies of up to 100 individuals, and they typically mate in the fall and give birth to a single pup in the spring.
Although they are capable of flight, northern yellow bats often roost close to the ground, making them vulnerable to predators such as snakes and owls.
12. Giant Golden-crowned Flying Fox
The giant golden-crowned flying fox is a type of bat found in the Philippines. These bats are the largest bat species, with a wingspan reaching up to six feet. These bats are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at night.
The diet of these bats consists mainly of fruits, although they will also eat leaves and flowers. These bats play an essential role in pollination and seed dispersal.
13. Gould’s Long-eared Myotis
These small, delicate-looking bats have glossy brown or reddish-brown fur. The ends of their long, narrow wings extend past their tails. Gould’s long-eared myotis are found in forests and woodlands throughout North America.
They roost in trees, rocks, and caves during the day. They fly swiftly and gracefully through the air at night, catching insects in mid-flight. These different types of bats are timid and difficult to observe.
14. Chinese Horseshoe Bat
The Chinese horseshoe bat is a small, delicate-looking creature with big ears. It’s found in forests and woodlands throughout China and Southeast Asia. These bats are known to echolocate, which means they use sound to navigate in the dark.
Chinese horseshoe bats emit a series of high-pitched clicks and then listen for the echo to determine where objects are. This allows them to avoid obstacles, find prey, and roost in trees or caves.
15. Pallid Bat
The pallid bat, also called the American long-eared bat, is found in North America and Central America. They prefer to live close to water, where they feed on fish or shrimp that live near shorelines.
These bats are furry and have an average wingspan of 10 inches (25 cm). These different types of bats can be identified by their ears which are significant for picking up sounds from far away prey items.
16. Greater Mouse-eared Bat
The greater mouse-eared bat is one of the most significant types of bats. It has a wingspan of up to 13 inches and can weigh up to 2 ounces. This bat is found in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
It feeds on insects, moths, and small mammals. The greater mouse-eared bat is a protected species in many countries.
It roosts in sheltered places such as caves, crevices, bridges, and buildings during the day. These animals are usually active at night when they feed on their prey.
17. Angolan Free-tailed Bat
The Angolan free-tailed bat is a small to medium-sized bat found in Africa. As its name suggests, this bat has a free tail that is not attached to the rest of its body, giving it extra maneuverability in the air.
The Angolan free-tailed bat is an insectivore, meaning it feeds on insects. These different types of bats are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night.
18. Lesser Mouse-eared Bat
The lesser mouse-eared bat is also a large type of bat with a wing span of 12 inches or more and weighs about 1 ounce. It’s found all over Africa, south of the Sahara Desert to as far north as southern France in Europe. They feed on insects, such as moths, butterflies, beetles, mosquitoes, flies, and other small insects.
19. Cuban Flower Bat
The Cuban flower bat is one of the most attractive-looking bats. They have reddish-brown fur, and their wings are black with white spots. These different types of bats are found in Cuba and the Bahamas.
They roost in caves and trees during the day, and at night, they fly out to feed on flowers, nectar, and insects. The Cuban flower bat is an essential pollinator for many plants.
20. Dark Fruit-eating Bat
The dark fruit-eating bat is a small, nocturnal creature found in the forests of Central and South America. These bats are important pollinators of the night-blooming flowers they feed on.
They have large eyes and long, furry tails that hang upside down from branches. Dark fruit-eating bats are gentle and docile and are not known to attack humans.
21. Canyon Bat
The canyon bat is a small to medium-sized bat found in North America. They are dark brown or black with lighter undersides. These different types of bats roost in caves and crevices during the day and emerge at night to hunt for insects.
Canyon bats typically live in arid regions and are good swimmers. They use echolocation to navigate and can often be seen flying close to water sources.
22. Grey-Headed Flying Fox
The grey-headed flying fox is a fruit bat found in Australia. It is a giant bat in Australia, with a wingspan of up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft). The head and body are covered in short grey fur, while the wings are black.
This species is found along the east coast of Australia, from Queensland to Victoria. Grey-headed flying foxes live in forests and woodlands near water.
These different types of bats eat fruit, nectar, and pollen and play an essential role in pollinating native plants. These bats are social animals living in large colonies of up to 100 individuals.
23. Peter’s Dwarf Epauletted Fruit Bat
This tiny bat is found in woodlands throughout Africa, and it roosts in trees and eats a diet of fruit, flowers, and leaves. The Peter’s Dwarf Epauletted Fruit Bat is nocturnal and active at night.
It has large eyes that help it see in the dark. This bat gets its name from the two tufts of hair on its shoulders that look like epaulets. In addition to being active at night, this species spends most of the day sleeping upside down with its wings wrapped around itself.
24. African Straw-colored Fruit Bat
These different types of bats live primarily in tropical forests across central and western Africa. They feed on fruits such as figs, dates, bananas, mangoes, guavas, etc., but will also eat insects if necessary for survival.
They are migratory, which means they follow a pattern where they hibernate during the winter and then migrate to warmer areas to reproduce in the springtime.
25. Brazilian Free-tailed Bat
The Brazilian free-tailed bat is found throughout South America, including Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
It’s a nocturnal animal that lives among forest trees at altitudes of up to 3 meters (10 feet). In the daytime, it roosts close to the trunk or foliage by day or night near streams or ponds so it can drink water when thirsty.
26. Mariana Fruit Bat
The Mariana fruit bat is a giant bat found on the Mariana Islands. It is one of the big bats in the world, with a wingspan of up to 1.5 meters (5 feet). The Mariana fruit bat is a frugivore, meaning it feeds on fruits.
It is an important seed disperser for many plants on the islands. These different types of bats are nocturnal, active at night, and roost in caves, trees, or buildings during the day.
27. Spotted Bat
The Spotted Bat is found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is a small bat with brown or reddish-brown fur. The Spotted Bat is one of the few bats that echolocate while in flight.
This means that it uses sound to navigate and find food. The Spotted Bat eats moths, roosting in trees, and they are nocturnal, so active at night.
28. Desert Long-Eared Bat
The desert long-eared bat is a small, brown bat with large ears. It is found in the deserts of North America and Mexico. This bat roosts in trees and shrubs during the day and hunts insects at night.
The desert long-eared bat uses echolocation to navigate and find its prey. These different types of bats can live up to 20 years in the wild.
All in all, these different types of bats are fascinating creatures with many quirks. If you’re ever feeling down, remember there’s a bat out there somewhere that can fly using only its genitals, and that alone should cheer you up!
It’s been said that if we were as small as bats, the sky would be our playground. They have more than one set of wings but use their hind limbs to steer and stabilize flight and their front limbs to capture prey (also called echolocation).