Bat Behavior - A Day In The Life Of An Insect Eating Bat

Bat behavior can vary quite a lot, but there are also characteristics that the many species share.

Insectivorous bats make up 70% of the world's bats so Pip the common pipistrelle (an insect-eating bat found in North Africa, parts of Asia and in Europe) would like to share what he does on a typical day with you...

Hi there!

Remember me from the echolocation page? In a minute, I'm going to let you in on why autumn is such an exciting time for me! But first, let's start off with how...


by my body clock telling me it's time to get up when the sun sets. It doesn't matter whether my roost's completely dark or not. When dusk comes, I start to stir and prepare to go out and get my day's meal of mosquitoes, midges and other insects.

In maternity roosts, the adults usually fly out first, followed by the baby bats. It'll be the first time out for many of them.


I use echolocation (also known as biosonar) to make sure I don't bump into trees and buildings as I whizz round. And also to catch insects. Sometimes, I store them in the pouch that's formed by my tail and wing.

My tail also acts as a brake, which helps me do all the tight twists and turns I need to chase and catch insects.


This is why autumn is such an exciting time for me. I don't spend all my time chasing insects but also try and mate with as many bats as possible!

I've heard that some bats like the Brazillian free-tailed bat sing love songs to try and woo potential mates. (This is a pretty recent discovery about bat behavior.)

My mating calls aren't as complex but luckily, the female pipistrelles don't seem to mind :-)


The rising sun signals that it's time to make my final journey home. Coming out of and going back into my roost can be a bit dangerous as I live in a house roost at the moment and the owners have a cat. But he hasn't managed to get me yet!


After returning to my roost at dawn, I go to sleep to save energy, especially if the weather's cool and/or rainy. (Bad weather means there's less food about).

My body temperature goes down until it matches my surroundings and so does my heart and breathing rate. This is called torpidity.

Bats in tropical or hotter parts of the world don't have to become torpid although they're known to rest during the day too.


When the weather gets colder, there aren't many insects about, so I go into a long-term torpid state. I use the body fat stores I've built up during the previous months to get me through this period.

I do wake up from time to time to have a pee and a drink.

The most important thing I need from a roost when I hibernate is cool, stable temperatures. This is why my winter roost is most likely to be different from my spring and summer ones.

(Moving around a fair bit is very typical of bat behavior :-))

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