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.
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.