Scientist Top Tips
The Food Mystery

How do scientists figure out what bats eat?

Follow the Food
When I study a bat, I also investigate what plants and other animals live in that environment.

Observe Bats in Action
Night-vision goggles and cameras help me record bats on the hunt.

Investigate Adaptations
Each bat species has evolved specific adaptations that help it successfully find a specific type of food.

Look in the Stomach
When a bat species is plentiful, I carefully collect specimens for further examination in the lab. Stomach contents reveal the kind of food a bat eats and help me figure out where they go to hunt.

Examine the Feces
With safety measures in place, I can learn a lot from examining a bat’s feces, also known as guano. Seeds in fecal pellets reveal what kinds of fruit a bat ate; bits of insect wings and legs can tell me what insect prey is favored by a particular bat species.

Why is it important for scientists to figure out what bats eat?
Understanding the place of any animal in an ecosystem requires understanding its basic needs -- where it lives and what it eats.

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