Do bats drink water? How?

Bats like all other animal drink water. However, what is unique about bats and their water drinking habits is they rarely drink from small sources.

Why do they not drink from small sources?
Bats use echolocation to know where they are, what objects are ahead of them, the distance between them and the object and so on. By use of echolocation, bats will make high pitched sounds and wait for an echo back. Echolocation is highly developed in bats; they are therefore able to judge what the mass of an object is just by listening to the echo. When they fly over large masses of water like lakes, ponds and rivers, they are able to discern an echo coming back from a large source directly under them. Once they recognize this, bats will swoop low and take a gulp of the water.

How can they always be sure that it is water?
Unfortunately they are never sure of this fact. There, large metallic surfaces have been known to confuse them as water. This is because while echolocation may seem to give them a good idea of the general mass of the object from which the echo is reflected from, they cannot tell the material it is made of.

What is your part in keeping them hydrated?
If you are a lower of bats and have some in the area;
• You can dig a pond nearby to give them a drink when they are hunting.
• You may want to avoid having shinny metallic objects in your compound. They confuse them and sometimes can cause the nasty injuries.

How often a bat needs water is determined by the amount of water it has lost in flight and it feels thirsty. It is easy to assume they do not drink water, but like many animals they cannot survive without water. As a matter of fact, after hibernation, the most likely place they will make their first stop is near the nearest water body. This is because, they lose a lot of body fat and are terribly dehydrated after hibernation.

Take caution
While 90% of the bats tested for rabies have tested negative, prudence is advised when dealing with bats. So, even if you are their local water source, ensure you do not come too close as to get attacked by one. Also do not handle guano without protective clothing like gloves.

Read the How to get rid of bats page for helpful information and to learn more about Do bats drink water? How?

Do bats drink water? How?

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