Did you know there are two main species of bats in the world? All bats can be put into one of two classes: Microchiroptera or Megachiroptera. These are colloquially known as “megabats” and “microbats.” Keep on reading to learn the principal differences and distinctions between them, including their appearance, diet, habitat, and much more!
Microchiroptera, or microbats, are modest in size and have big ears. Most range between 3 and 16 inches in length, and many are small enough to fit through a gap as tiny as 3/8th of an inch. They are echolocating mammals, meaning that they use a built-in, biological sonar system, which emits ultrasonic sounds that bounce of nearby objects and come back to the bat. Micros aren’t blind, but echolocation helps them dart and dive for prey more correctly at night.
In terms of diet, micros primarily eat insects; but some larger species eat small rodents, fish, birds, and amphibians. Three particular species consumes the blood of other animals, mainly birds and livestock. But do not worry; they don’t drink human blood!
In regards to habitat, microbats live in moderate environments, and typically roost in hollowed trees, abandoned mines, caves, as well as in residential and commercial buildings (particularly attics!) .
Megachiroptera are much larger in size, and can also be known as “Flying Foxes”, “Fruit Bats”, and “Old World Fruit Bats.” This is mainly because of their frugivorous and nectarivorous diets, which mainly consists of fruit, nectar, and pollen. Some species are known to Raccoon Control eat some insects, but their diet primarily consists of the nectar and pollen of fruit and flowers. Because of this, this suborder of bats don’t use nor retain echolocating abilities. They do, however, have a keen sense of smell which helps them locate food sources, as well as, adapted teeth that are strong enough to bite through fruit rinds.
As for appearance, it’s easy to differentiate a mega out of a micro. But, Microbats lack the claw in the second finger of the forelimb that megabats don’t have. Megabats live in hot, tropical, and subtropical areas of the world. You’re not likely to see wild fruit bats living in the woods of the U.S. Midwest.