Do Owls Eat Bats? – All You Want to Know

Owls are extremely interesting creatures, and the variety of their diets only adds to their intriguing nature. Since owls and bats are nocturnal animals, it is only natural to wonder how they interact.

Most owls eat a variety of small mammals like mice and squirrels. However, large and medium-sized owls are also known to eat a bat from time to time. Owls will usually eat bats if there is a limited food source or the bat is injured, making them easy prey.

do owls eat bats

Get ready because we are about to explore this question even further. We will get into what specific owl species eat bats along with answering some other common questions on this part of the owl’s diet. Let’s swoop right in!

Do Barred Owls Eat Bats?

barred owl in Indiana

Barred owls are a fairly large species of bat that is native to the eastern part of the United States. Since Barred owls are large and have quick reflexes, they can catch and eat bats.

However, small mammals like rabbits, mice, and chipmunks are more commonly eaten by Barred Owls than bats are. This is mainly due to these animals being easier prey for Barred Owls than bats are.

Do Screech Owls Eat Bats?

Eastern Screech Owl

Screech owls are another species of owl that is large and native to the Americas, and they are known to hunt bats when necessary. Screech owls eat other animals like squirrels, mice, and shrews as well.

Screech owls will also eat trout, snails, slugs, worms, and various insects. However, small mammals are preferred by Screech owls.

Do Barn Owls Eat Bats?

barn owl

Barn owls are a very popular species of owl that is native to many parts of the world. They are medium in size, so they cannot eat prey as large as some other species of owl. Also like most owl species, Barn Owls hunt at night.

Still, Barn owls can and will eat small bats. In fact, Barn owls tend to hunt and eat bats more often than most other owl species.

Bats are not an extremely common part of the Barn Owl’s diet, though. Barn owls prefer to eat small rodents like voles, mice, and shrews.  However, they have a varied diet like most owls.

Do Tawny Owls Eat Bats?

tawny owl

Tawny Owls are native throughout Europe and Asia. They can also be found in Northern Africa. Tawny owls are known to eat small bats and birds. However, the size of the bat must be on the smaller side because the Tawny Owl is only a medium-sized bird.

In addition to bats, Tawny Owls will eat small mammals. Rodents are a favorite food for Tawny Owls, but they will sometimes also eat other things. Some other possible prey for Tawny Owls include birds, small reptiles, insects, and even fish.

What Other Species of Owls Can Eat Bats?

Mainly only large and medium-sized species of owls eat bats. This is because small species of owls are unable to hunt and eat bats due to their small size.

Even medium-sized owls like Barn owls and Tawny owls are limited to only eating small species of bats. Some other species of owls that can hunt and eat bats include:

  • Great Horned Owls
  • Long Eared Owls
  • Short Eared Owls
  • Eagle Owls
  • Ural Owls

All of the above species of owls will eat bats every once in a while. Even though bats are not a common part of an owl’s diet, they will eat them when necessary.

Do Owls Eat Fruit Bats?

Fruit bats are a very large species of bat that is native to warm tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Due to their large size, adult fruit bats are often too large for most species of owls to eat.

However, it may be possible for large species of owls to eat a smaller fruit bat. This is especially true if the fruit bat is a Juvenile.

How Do Owls Catch Bats?

Most of the time owls will catch bats midflight when there is not much other prey around. Owls will also catch injured bats that are on the ground and cannot fly. Owls do this in the same way that they catch other types of prey like mice and rabbits.

Can Owls and Bats Coexist?

Most of the time owls and bats coexist without much competition at all. This is because most owls only eat bats when there are no other food options available. This is mainly due to the fact that most other animals are easier for owls to catch than bats. Similarly, bats do not pose any threat to owls.

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