We all know bats are active during the night. As nocturnal creatures, they like to carry out most of their activities in the dark. You will find them flying in the open sky, hunting insects, and finding new roosting places.
But have you ever wondered where do bats go during the day? Are they sleeping or doing something else? Let’s find out below!
What Do Bats Do in a Day?
At night, bats become active and spend their time in the outdoors. They will fly both high and low to catch insects. You might even find them skimming above the water.
The United States Department of Agriculture states that a bat can hunt more than 1000 insects in an hour. If a mother bat is nursing her babies, she can eat 4000+ insects in one night. This makes bats a natural pest controller.
When hunting, bats produce ultrasonic sounds at different frequencies. The sound waves hit the prey, bounce, and travel back to the bats. Their brain analyzes the information to identify what the prey is and where it is. This is also called echolocation.
Once bats are done eating, they will drink water and settle back into their roosts. This usually happens when the sun is about to rise.
Bats are colonial animals, so around 10 to 100 bats will form one nest. They will get close to each other and hang upside down to sleep. This particular method keeps them warm and protected.
The bats will continue sleeping until the sun sets. So, bats don’t do anything during the daytime except for resting.
Egyptian Bats – Exception to the Nocturnal World
While most bat populations exhibit the behavior described above, there are around 10 diurnal species. One of them is the Egyptian fruit bat.
This bat specie is commonly found in India, Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. It is traditionally known to spend time sleeping during the day. However, a research team at Tel Aviv University studied their behavior and found they are diurnal.
In their study, 500 Egyptian fruit bats were seen flying around in the daylight hours. They hunted prey, drank water, and used echolocation to navigate the way. There was no inefficiency in their behavior, and they performed just as well as nocturnal bats.
But you should remember that diurnal bats make up 10 out of 1400 bat species. They are very rare!
Why Do Bats Sleep During the Day?
Most bats sleep during the day because they are nocturnal animals. Their body is designed to function well at night. Here’s how:
Bats can see during both day and night. But, since their vision is sensitive, they see much better in the darkness. They can use this enhanced vision with echolocation to hunt more accurately too.
2. Insects Activity
Insects make up the biggest proportion of a bat’s diet. The majority of these insects are active at night, which makes it an ideal time for bats to hunt.
Since bats don’t have good defense mechanisms either, flying in the daytime puts them at great risk. However, at night, bats can camouflage themselves well in the surroundings.
Where Can You Find Bats During the Day?
There is a common misconception that bats only sleep in caves. Although this might be true for wildlife, most bat species have greatly adapted to the urban human lifestyle. These nocturnal creatures can sleep in any dark, secluded, and warm place.
Here are some famous areas where you can find bats during the day:
1. Hollow Trees
If a tree is tall, old, and hollow, it makes the perfect roosting place for bats. The dark, hollow inside of the trunk offers good protection against predators. It also keeps small bat colonies warm.
However, the tree should be a little isolated. Bats don’t prefer settling down in tree cavities that are extremely close to human activities. For example, the trees in a small garden on which you climb regularly or have a hung swing for children.
2. Rock Crevices
When huge rocks are piled together (naturally or artificially), they form gaps that provide good shelter to bats. There is darkness, warmth, and good access to prey. However, since the rocks don’t enclose the bats like hollow trees, there is little protection.
It’s why bats won’t stay in rock crevices for long. They will also not settle together in great numbers, instead, they will split themselves in small groups amongst different rock crevices.
Attics are one the favorite roosting places for urban bats. These tight spaces at the top of your property are secluded, dark, and warm. They perfectly imitate the natural cave environment.
So, during the daytime, you can often find them hanging upside down in the attic. But please don’t let bats settle in your house permanently because this bat infestation can cause serious diseases.
If you find bat guano frequently around the house, immediately contact the professionals from a reputable bat removal service.
4. Wall Cavities
The majority of Western properties are constructed with hollow bricks. This means the walls are hollow. So, if a wall develops cracks and crevices, a bat can easily gain entry.
These wall cavities completely hide the bats from enemies. And so, bats may settle down and use the cavities to travel to different parts of the house.
5. Behind Chimneys
Often, a gap forms between the chimney and the exterior house wall. The area is dark, tight, and seems like the crevice of a cliff. However, there should be an entry point for the bats to get through and settle down.
If a basement isn’t used much, the chance of bats roosting there is high. It’s simply because the basement provides an environment similar to an underground cave. You will find solitary bats or small colonies in the corners of the roof.
7. Abandoned Buildings
Abandoned buildings, such as barns and warehouses, are ideal roosting places for bats. These nocturnal animals can settle down in large numbers without the risk of being disturbed by humans or predators.
However, although the whole building is available to them, they will specifically choose the roofline, tunnels, soffits, vents, and wall cavities.
Why Do Bats Sleep Upside Down?
For us, hanging upside feels uncomfortable and nauseous. But, if you study bat sleeping behavior, you will learn that these mammals only prefer sleeping upside down. Mind you – a bat sleeps 20 hours on average!
So, why do bats sleep upside down? This is because their wings can’t produce the lift required to take off from the ground. A bat must drop itself from a great height to fly. So, sleeping upside down keeps a bat prepared for emergency flights.
Let’s suppose a predator enters the roosting place or a nursing mother bat suddenly feels hungry. In any case, the bats can easily fall 2 to 3 feet and launch themselves successfully into the sky.
Moreover, bats are small in size and body weight. Their heart doesn’t need to work much to circulate the blood properly throughout the body. This means they don’t feel the nauseous, dizzy feeling that humans do.
There is also no discomfort since bats have unique claws and tendons. The claws first grip the roof surface firmly. When the bat is in its best position, the tendons make both the claw and toe stationary. This helps the bat to relax and fall asleep without feeling exhausted.
Do Bats Come Back to the Same Place Every Night?
It might sound logical to assume bats come back to the same place every night, but that’s not true. Similar to any other animal, the needs of a bat keep changing. And so, their roosting place will depend on those needs.
For example, if the females are about to enter their nursing stage, the bats will move to a place where there are more insects and small prey. If a predator has been sighted near the previous roosting place, the males would immediately find another place.
So, it is uncommon for bats to sleep in the same place every night. But, if they have found an excellent roosting place that is dark, warm, and safe, bats may as well make a nest. In this case, they will return to the same place for resting until their needs change.
Bats will also stay in one place for hibernation. Check out this amazing video to learn more!
All in all, bats are one of the best creations of nature. These nocturnal mammals stay up all night and eliminate all those nasty pests from your garden and backyard. And where do bats go during the day?
They sleep in warm, dark, and isolated places. This includes caves, hollow trees, rock crevices, attics, wall cavities, behind chimneys, basements, and abandoned buildings.
However, when talking about diurnal bats (like Egyptian fruit bats), you can find them actively hunting prey, drinking water, and just flying around in the daytime. These rare bat species sleep at night.
Do you know about any other diurnal bat specie? Let us know in the comments below!