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Do Owls Eat Bats? (Answered)

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It’s no secret that owls are skilled hunters, well known for their ability to capture a variety of different prey, including small mammals, birds, and insects. But have you ever found yourself wondering if these nocturnal birds also eat bats? It’s a perfectly logical question to ask, given that owls and bats are both nocturnal.

A cute brown owl standing on an old tree trunk.

So, we did a little digging to find out the answer to this question once and for all. Here’s what we discovered!


Do Owls Eat Bats?

In most cases, yes – owls will eat bats. However, it’s worth mentioning that bats are rarely the primary prey of owls. In fact, most owls eat a variety of small animals, including rodents, lizards, snakes, and even other birds. So while bats may be on the menu for owls from time to time, they’re seldom the main course.

That is because bats are powerful and agile flyers, making them difficult to catch. Bats are also equipped with echolocation, which allows them to avoid predators – like owls and hawks – by detecting their movements and location. Owls may try to hunt bats, but it’s not an easy feat.

That said, some species, like the barn and tawny owl, have been known to target and capture bats more frequently than others. But even then, bats only make up a small portion of their diet compared to other small mammals.

Do All Owls Eat Bats?

A cute Scop owl sitting on a tree branch.

No, not all owls eat bats. In fact, most species of owls have pretty specific diets. It largely depends on the size of the owl, as well as its geographic location.

For example, the Scops owl primarily eats insects. Despite its unassuming appearance, this small predator plays a vital role in controlling insect populations worldwide. The scops owl mainly feeds on a wide variety of insects, such as beetles, crickets, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. In particular, it seems to favor moths and insects active at night.

The elf owl, one of the smallest owl species, also has a diet that consists almost entirely of insects. These tiny predators primarily feed on moths, beetles, and crickets. Insects make up such a large part of their diet because they’re relatively easy to catch and provide the elf owl with the high amounts of energy it needs to survive.

What Do Owls Eat Besides Bats?

Most owls have a diet that consists primarily of small mammals, such as rodents and rabbits. However, they will also eat insects, reptiles, amphibians, and sometimes even other birds.

In short, owls are not picky eaters and dine on pretty much anything they can get their talons on. Given the versatility of their diet, it’s no wonder owls are such successful predators.


A cute brown owl sitting on an old tree log.

So there you have it – owls will eat bats, but they’re not a favorite food. Most owls prefer to hunt other animals, including rodents, rabbits, reptiles, or other birds. Bats are occasionally on the menu for these nocturnal predators, but they make up a relatively small part of their diet.

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