Q:

What natural enemies do bats have?

A:

Quick Answer

Natural enemies of bats include owls, hawks, falcons, snakes and domestic cats. In eastern North America, the fungal infection white nose syndrome is taking a devastating toll on the bat population, as of 2014.

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Full Answer

Owls do not feed exclusively on bats, but are among the chief predators of bats due to their nocturnal habits. An owl's ability to fly silently allows it to easily capture flying bats. Two species of raptors, the bat falcon and the bat hawk, have a diet consisting largely of bats. Bat falcons are small raptors native to northern Mexico and parts of South America. They often perch and wait for potential prey and sometimes even shake branches to rouse prey. The bat hawk is a raptor of Africa, the Malay Peninsula and New Guinea. It frequents the roosts of both bats and swifts, where it consumes over 10 animals a minute.

In some parts of the world, snakes and domestic cats prey upon bats. Snakes hide in trees or at cavern entrances to grab emerging bats. Domestic cats occasionally take bats from roosts during the day and are even capable of grabbing the animals mid-flight.

As of 2014, white nose syndrome is responsible for the loss of nearly 6 million bats in eastern North America since its emergence, in New York, in 2006. The disease disrupts bat hibernation, causing the animals to wake too frequently and to burn critical reserves. Additionally, the feeding structures of the fungus penetrate tissue and make holes in bats' wings.

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