How Long Do Bats Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 15 To 20 Years

The lifespan of bats is known to be about a minimum of 15 years to a maximum of 25 years. But many factors determine the lifespan of bats. Among these factors, the major factor that plays a vital role in determining the lifespan of bats is the species of bats. Bats are found in many different breeds.

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How Long Do Bats Live?

Different Breeds Of BatsLifespan
Horseshoe bats12 years to 20 years
Bulldog bats15 years to 20 years
Natalie bats11 years to 15 years
Megachiroptera bats14 years to 18 years

Horseshoe bats are generally found in some regions of tropical and subtropical areas. They are majorly found in regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. The specific characteristics of these bats are smooth and long fur, reddish-brown, blackish, or bright orange-red. The average lifespan of horseshoe bats is about a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 20 years.

Bulldog bats, or also known as fishing bats which are generally found near water, roost in groups. These bats commonly live in hollow trees, or caves, or man-made homes, or any other such openings that would have enough space. Bulldog bats are found in some regions from Mexico to Argentina and in the Caribbean islands as well. The bigger Bulldog bats locate fishes by the phenomenon of echolocation, that means, by locating the ripples created in water and eating them as their primary food. The average lifespan of Bulldog bats is about 15 to 20 years on average in the wild.

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Natalie bats are also known as funnel-eared bats having brown, grey, or reddish fur. These bats are native to certain regions of Mexico to Brazil and the Caribbean islands as well. The specific characteristics of these bats are their long tails, large ears, and no noseleaf. The lifespan of the Natalie bats ranges between 11 to 15 years on average. 

Megachiroptera is also known as fruit bats, and Old World fruit bats as well. These bats evolved in Australasia and their ancestors were found to have existed approximately 31 million years ago. In current times, these types of bats are majorly found in regions of Africa, Oceania, and some subtropical regions of Eurasia. Almost all kinds of old-world fruit bats are nocturnal or can be also called crepuscular. These bats are natural reservoirs of certain viruses which can affect humans. The lifespan of old-world fruit bats is around a minimum of 14 to a maximum of 18 years on average.

Why Do Bats Live That Long?

Bats are generally not more vulnerable to survival problems like predators and food shortages. When taken proper care, provided safe and suitable shelter, a healthy diet, and an attentive owner, bats can easily live up to 30 to 35 years.

Generally, bats living in captivity, which means in zoological gardens and sanctuaries, tend to live longer than the bats living in the wild. When said about keeping a bat in captivity, that means the bats could be kept in zoos, bird sanctuaries. Keeping bats in captivity generally signifies that the bat has an owner whose responsibility is to take care of it. The bat who lives under captivation can live for as long as a span of 30 to 35 years. 

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The reason behind that is because these bats have no stress to survive, they don’t have to struggle for food or fight predators. Such bats are provided food and a good environment, they are far away from predators and thus, they have a huge lifespan of 30 to 35 years. All the conditions suitable to live for a bat are readily provided to bats in captivity. Whereas, bats living in the wild struggle to live longer because of shortage of food, unsuitable external conditions, fear of hunters, and all other such problems as well.

Conclusion

With advancements in veterinary medicine and veterinary science, scientists found suitable conditions for bats to survive for a longer duration of time. Moreover, with developed and improved knowledge about appropriate care for bats, good feeding habits, and all other survival situations, the average lifespan of the bats can be increased from 5 years to about 8 years.

References

  1. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.7208/9780226065267/html
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534706000218