Today’s featured animal, the Greater Bulldog Bat, has to be one of the most remarkable bat species on the planet. This large bat, also known as the Fisherman Bat, is a type of fishing bat found throughout Latin America. As you might expect, they are called the Fisherman Bat for a reason…..they are one of the few bat species in the world that feeds primarily on fish. That’s right, a bat that catches fish. We will find out how this accomplish this feat soon enough but first, lets learn a little more about their appearance.
A Face Only A Mother Could Love
The Greater Bulldog Bat has a few interesting features on their face. For starters, their upper lip is divided by a skin flap while the bottom lip has a wart that extends all the way down to their chin. When you combine these characteristics, today’s featured bat, has the uncanny resemblance to that of a Bulldog, hence their name. The wingspan of the Greater Bulldog Bat is about 1 m (3 feet) across, with their 3rd digit making up about 65% of the wing. Believe it or not, the wing is actually longer than the head and body of our Flying Bulldog. Not only can they use these wings to fly but the Greater Bulldog Bat is a capable swimmer, which comes in handy when you are a fisherman.
The Perfect Fishing Hole
So how does this bat catch fish? Well, they typically fly high into the air circling like a vulture. From this viewpoint, they are able to use their echolocation to detect any movements in the water below. When the fish start surfacing to catch their food, the bat will swoop down for a closer look. When it is time to eat, they will skim the surface of the water and pluck the little fishy from its home, using their large hind feet. If there is a particularly good fishing spot, the Greater Bulldog Bat will skip over the flying high part and just skim the top of the pond. This behaviour is known as raking and tends to be quite effective for our large fish-eating bat.
I think this is one of those behaviours that you need to see for yourself. The short video clip below shows how this bat catches fish and also outlines the potential dangers that await for the hungry bat.
Pretty intense video, eh? It just goes to show that every day in the wild is a battle for survival.