Caribbean National Forest


The behavior of these mammals can vary as much as their physical characteristics, but with few exceptions bats are nocturnal animals. This reduces food competition, gives them more liberty to attack prey, and protects them from dehydration. During the day they rest in a variety of places, from dark caves and crevices to tree branches.

Though some bats prefer to live alone, most live in large groups or colonies. These groups can be small (1 male/12 females) to hundreds or even thousands. This depends on a variety of things, from the time of the year, to sex segregation, to species. Eating habits are also varied. Some bats eats insects, fruits, nectar or pollen while others eat lizards, rats, birds or fish.

Bats are very beneficial to us and our environment. Some of the most important contributions are:

  • insect control
  • plant pollination
  • seed dispersal

Insect Control
It is estimated that bats eat thousands of tons of insects a year, thus controlling the insect population, some of which is harmful to agriculture.

Pollination and Seed Dispersal
Bats are responsible for the pollination of bananas, plantains and papayas, among other commercially important fruits. They also disperse tree seeds, aiding in the conservation of our natural vegetation.

They are also great contributors of energy in cave ecosystems. Without this contribution cave fauna would be scarce. Their feces or guano maintain ecosystems of organisms that include bacteria effective in waste detoxification and production of gasohol and antibiotics.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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