The 8 largest species of bats in the world

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Bats belong to the order of bats; they and their closest relatives, the fruit bats, are the only placental mammals for which flapping flight is the main mode of movement. In total, there are more than a thousand different species of bats, most of which are bats, subdivided by zoologists into 17 families. The habitat of these animals extends to all earthly continents, with the exception of Antarctica. They are not found only in the tundra, polar regions and on some oceanic islands. Bats are exclusively nocturnal, but during the day they sleep, choosing for this secluded places in caves, cracks in trees, as well as ground and underground artificial structures. Since the skeletal structure of these creatures is rather fragile, and does not allow them to move on the ground or push off for takeoff, they sleep in a suspended position, upside down. Another unique feature is the ability to use echolocation for orientation in dark space and search for prey. As predators, bats feed primarily on insects, but for larger species, frogs, lizards, fish, or small birds can become food.

In relation to people, bats are quite harmless and even useful creatures, since thanks to them the number of small insects is regulated, a significant part of which is harmful to agriculture and forestry. However, their eerie appearance and habits made them the object of myths and superstitions, which were later reflected in popular culture. Demons and dragons are usually portrayed with wings like bats, fabulous vampires tend to transform into these animals. We have to admit that large views really look scary. We bring to your attention a selection of the largest bats in the world.

An overview of the largest species of bats in the world

Nomination a place View Length Wingspan Weight
Ranking of the largest species of bats in the world 1 Giant nocturnal 10.4 cm. 46 CM. 76 gr.
2 Great harelip 13 CM. 32.5 CM. 80 GR.
3 Big horseshoe 7 CM. 40 CM. 30 GR.
4 White-winged vampire 11.5 CM. 40 CM. 40 GR.
5 Pale smoothbone 13.5 CM. 38 CM. 44 gr.
6 Australian false vampire 14 CM. 60 CM. 200 GR.
7 Big leaf-bearing 14 CM. 90 CM. 190 GR.
8 Bulldog bat 15 CM. 60 CM. 190 GR.

Giant nocturnal

Rating: 4.3

Nyctalus lasiopterus

Nyctalus lasiopterus is the largest bat species found in Russia and Europe. Even the nocturnal lives in the Middle Eastern countries, in the territory of Central Asia and in the north of the African continent. It owes its name to its hunting habits, since it behaves most actively after the onset of evening twilight or before dawn. The body length of a bat can reach 10.4 centimeters, a wingspan of up to 46 centimeters, and a weight of up to 76 grams. Characteristic features are rounded ears and reddish brown color. The fur on the back of the head has a peculiar elongated “mane”. Vechernitsy usually settle in deciduous forests, isolated small populations of 3-7 individuals. Sometimes they share shelter with other types of bats. They feed on beetles, night butterflies, sometimes they hunt small birds. The life span of the species is about 10 years.

Great harelip

Rating: 4.4

Great harelip

Noctilio leporinus, or great hare lip, is found in Central and South America, as well as in the Bahamas and Antilles. It got its name because of the split upper lip like a hare. The second name of the bat is fish-eating, since its favorite food is small fish. Haregubs choose caves, crevices in rocks or other secluded places near water bodies or near the sea coast as their habitation. They live in large colonies, subdivided into small groups, which usually include one male and several females. In length, the body of individuals is up to 13 centimeters, the weight can reach 80 grams. The wings of this species are narrow and very long; they exceed the body length by two and a half times. Females and males differ in color: males have a bright reddish hairline, females have brown-gray hair. Bats hunt in groups, prey is found using echolocation, by ripples on the water surface. Thanks to their long hind legs, equipped with sharp claws, hare lips easily snatch slippery fish out of the water.

Big horseshoe

Rating: 4.5

rhinolophus ferrumequinum

Horseshoe bats (scientific name – rhinolophus ferrumequinum) are distinguished from other species by a leathery flat outgrowth on the nose, which serves to focus the emitted ultrasonic signals. Large horseshoe bats have a body length of up to 7 centimeters and can reach 40 centimeters in wingspan. The weight of an adult is about 30 grams, the color of the body is reddish. Youngsters initially have a solid gray color. Horseshoe bats have an almost atrophied vision, and they rely almost entirely on superior echolocation to fly. The habitat is very extensive: it includes almost all of Europe, a significant part of Asia and North Africa. In Russia, they can be found in the Caucasus. As a refuge, these bats arrange caves, crevices, mines and abandoned buildings. They feed on small nocturnal insects. For hibernation they hibernate, while females with calves and males hibernate in separate groups. The lifespan is about 20 years, which is quite a long time compared to other bats. On the territory of the Russian Federation, horseshoe bats are listed in the Red Book.

White-winged vampire

Rating: 4.6

diaemus youngi

Bats of the species diaemus youngi, called white-winged vampires, live in the tropical regions of South and North America, most often found in the forests of Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru. During the day they prefer to rest in the hollows of large trees, less often they live in caves in colonies of up to 30 individuals. The body size of a white-winged vampire reaches 11 and a half centimeters in length, a wingspan of up to 40 centimeters, and a large individual weighs about 40 grams. The coat is brown with a red tint, and the wings are white at the edges, they also have a white membrane – hence the name of the species. The blood of various small birds serves as food for the white-winged vampire, which they feed on at night, but if human settlements are nearby, then these bats switch to domestic animals, which are more affordable prey. According to research by zoologists, on average, over its entire life (about 12 years), one individual drinks a hundred liters of blood. A colony of vampires living near a farm or a village can cause considerable damage – the animals attacked have reduced immunity, and the wounds left after the bites attract parasites. On rare occasions, white-winged vampires also bite humans, which, while not dangerous in itself, can lead to infection with bat-borne infections.

Pale smoothbone

Rating: 4.7

antrozous pallidus

The species antrozous pallidus, which bears the name of the pale smooth-nosed, is a large bat, its body length reaches 13 and a half centimeters, and its wingspan is 38 centimeters. The upper body is pale brown and the belly is white. Of the characteristic features of the appearance, one can distinguish wide, colorless ears and large eyes. They live in North America, from Mexico to British Columbia in Canada. For settlement, bats usually choose mountainous terrain near water bodies. During the day they hide in caves, dense crowns of trees, in the attics of buildings; they begin to feed soon after sunset. During the hunt, the pallid noses use not only ultrasound, but also their well-developed eyesight and keen hearing. Unlike other species, they prefer to grab prey from the surface of the ground or foliage. Some dangerous insects such as scorpions are included in the diet. For wintering, males and females with calves gather in large colonies, while in summer they keep separately.

Australian false vampire

Rating: 4.8

Australian false vampire

The Australian false vampire from the spear-nosed family bears the scientific name macroderma gigas, it inhabits the vastness of the Australian continent. It is found mainly in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. As a hiding place, false vampires most often choose mines or caves. Also inhabits tropical forests and mangroves. Adults can grow up to 14 centimeters in length, their weight sometimes exceeds 200 grams, and their wingspan is 60 centimeters. The coat is ash brown. They hunt within a radius of a couple of kilometers from the permanent place of the day, the diet consists of insects, frogs, birds and even small species of bats. The victim is killed by biting her in the back of the head with their sharp fangs. Interestingly, the mock vampire is capable of carrying prey equal to its weight.

Big leaf-bearing

Rating: 4.9

vampyrum spectrum

Representatives of the vampyrum spectrum species live on both the American continents, from Brazil and Peru to southern Mexico. These bats belong to the leaf-nosed family. Their body length is about 14 centimeters, their wingspan is 90 centimeters, and their weight is up to 190 grams. Leaf noses have a large head with an elongated nose and large rounded ears. Body color is reddish-brown. They settle in forests or swampy areas, they arrange shelters in hollows of trees or inside human buildings. Bats hunt for reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, they deal with prey with the help of powerful jaws. Although, like all other representatives of the genus, they have excellent echolocation, they actively use their sense of smell and sight during the hunt. Natural enemies are relatively few, these include primarily owls and wild cats. Males and females of large leaf bearers often mate for life, and they are also very caring parents.

Bulldog bat

Rating: 5.0

eumops perotis

Bulldog bats or eumops perotis are distinguished by their large constitution: they can reach 15 centimeters in length, a wingspan of 60 centimeters, and a weight of about 190 grams. The body is covered with short and soft hair, there is a long tail (up to 8 centimeters). The presence of narrow, pointed to the ends of the wings makes frequent fast movements possible, as a result, the bulldog bat is able to pursue the victim at a maximum speed of up to 95 kilometers per hour. They are found both in the Western Hemisphere, in the tropical forests, and in the subtropics of the European Mediterranean, as well as in Africa and Australia. They live in caves, hollows of large trees, under crowns, in crevices of rocks or under the roofs of buildings. They settle in numerous colonies. Individuals of this species are distinguished by a developed echolocation apparatus – their squeak is heard at a distance of up to three hundred meters. The diet consists mainly of large insects. Bulldog bats do not hibernate during hibernation.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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