Fun Spectral Bat Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Amazing spectral bat facts for children.

Spectral bats are a type of leaf-nosed, carnivorous bat species of the genus Vampyrum found in Central and South America. They are also called Linnaeus's false vampire bat and the great false vampire bat.

The spectral bat scientific name is Vampyrum spectrum or V. spectrum. They have a body length of about  5.3-5.8 in ( 13.4-14.7 cm) and a wingspan that measures up to 2.3-3.3 ft (0.7-1 m). Their body size and wingspan make them the world's largest carnivorous bat.

They have reddish-brown back fur and a paler underbelly. Their belly fur is also shorter than the fur on their backs. They are also leaf-nosed bats, which means they are phyllostomid bats.

They also have large and rounded ears and no tail. Their skull is narrow and has a distinct sagittal crest.

The males of this bat species are usually a bit larger than the females. They are found in rainforests and forest edges of South and Central America, close to streams and rivers.

They roost and nest in tree hollows. They are one of the few monogamous species of bats. They prey on birds, rodents, and other smaller bats as well.

If you want to read more interesting animal articles, check out hoary bat facts and red bat facts.

Spectral Bat Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spectral bat?

The spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum) is a type of large, carnivorous bat found in Mexico, South America, and Central America. They are also called the great false vampire bat and Linnaeus's false vampire bat. They belong to the genus Vampyrum.

What class of animal does a spectral bat belong to?

The spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum) belongs to the Mammalia class of the Animalia kingdom. They belong to the order Chiroptera and Genus Vampyrum.

How many spectral bats are there in the world?

The exact population size of these bats is unknown. However, the conservation status of spectral bats is Not Threatened in the IUCN Red List. This species has a decreasing population but they are not yet threatened.

Where does a spectral bat live?

Spectral bats are found in Mexico and Central and South America. They can be found in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, and some other South American countries. They are typically found in rainforests.  

What is a spectral bat's habitat?

Spectral bats are mostly found in tropical rainforests. Sometimes also in orchards and pastures. They roost in forests near rivers or streams. They can also be found in forest edges, evergreen forests, and other areas with dense tree cover. This bat species can also roost in tree hollows and human structures.

Who do spectral bats live with?

This bat species is mostly seen roosting in hollow trees. They may live in pairs or colonies of up to five bats. The colonies of Spectral bats typically consist of one pair and their offspring. They are one of the few bat species that are monogamous.

How long does a spectral bat live?

The accurate average lifespan for spectral bats is unknown. However, researchers believe that one bat of the species was seen roosting in a cave from 2008-2016.

This makes them believe that the average lifespan of this bat species could be around eight years. There was one bat of unknown age kept in captivity that was alive for about six years.

How do they reproduce?

Spectral bats are one of the 18 known species of bats that are monogamous. The males are also known to provide parental care which, is rare in bats.

They are seasonal breeders and the adult female gives birth in May-July. They only give birth to one pup at a time.

Not much is known about their mating process but it is known that they have a very strong sense of family. They usually live in family groups that consist of the male, the female, and their nursing pup.

The females are very careful and gentle with their pups and even the males are known to sleep with both of them wrapped in their wings. Their colonies can consist of up to five individuals, and the chances are they are a family.

What is their conservation status?

The spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum) is listed as Not Threatened in the IUCN Red List. But their population size is decreasing, mostly due to habitat destruction.

Spectral Bat Fun Facts

What do spectral bats look like?

Read this article to know more about the amazing spectral bats.

Spectral bats (Vampyrum spectrum) are very interesting-looking mammals. They are the largest carnivorous bats on the planet and also the largest species of bats in the New World. They are about 5.3-5.8 in ( 13.4-14.7 cm) long and have a wingspan of about 2.3-3.3 ft (0.7-1 m).

Their wings are large but shorter if compared to their body. But they are wide and have squarish tips. The adults weigh about 5-6.7 oz (141.7-190 g).

They are Phyllostomid bats, which means they have a leaf nose. They have reddish-brown fur on their back while their underbellies sport a paler hue. They also have shorter fur on their belly than their back.

They have long thumbs, with cat-like grooved thumb claws. Their skull is elongated and has a prominent sagittal crest. This makes their skulls look like small bear skulls.

They have large, rounded ears and 34 teeth. They have a powerful bite force that helps them in hunting. They also have a high brain-to-body ratio, and their brain is very well developed, making them very smart animals.

How cute are they?

It is debatable whether or not the spectral bat can be called cute. Although their behavior, especially towards their family, is very endearing. People who love bats will find them adorable.

How do they communicate?

There is no well-researched data available on how these bats communicate with each other. But it is known that they probably use auditory, visual, and some tactile methods.

They are monogamous and are known to be physically affectionate with both their partners and their offspring. While hunting, these apex predators use their sense of smell and their echolocation characteristics as well as locating their prey through sight.

How big is a spectral bat?

The average body length of an adult spectral bat is about 5.3-5.8 in ( 13.4-14.7 cm). The spectral bat wings are also pretty large. The adults have a wingspan of about 2.3-3.3 ft (0.7-1 m). Based on their size, they are the largest bat species of the New World. They are also the world's largest carnivorous bat species.

How fast can a spectral bat fly?

The average speed of this species of bats is unknown. However, since spectral bats are apex predators that use flight to aid in their hunting, they are presumably very strong fliers.

How much does a spectral bat weigh?

The average weight of adult spectral bats is about 5-6.7 oz (141.7-190 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female bats. Thus, they are just called male spectral bats and female spectral bats.

What would you call a baby spectral bat?

Like all other bat species, the young of the spectral bat is called a pup.

What do they eat?

Spectral bats are fully carnivorous animals. The spectral bat diet includes a plethora of birds like cockatiels, rodents, and even smaller bats.

They also feed on insects sometimes. The V. spectrum prey species include birds like doves and cuckoos and bats, like the common vampire bat and some fruit-eating bats, for instance, a megabat, as well as some other bat species. The V. spectrum hunts during dusk.

They like to hunt birds that have strong odors, like a kakapo, and roost on branches instead of hollows. These bats use their sense of smell along with their sight and echolocation characteristics to locate prey.

They are opportunistic predators that stalk their prey and strike after. The adult bats of the species feed alone while their mates usually look after the pups in their nests.

They also take back prey to their nests sometimes. Previously, it was thought that this bat species is a blood-sucking vampire bat. But later it was found that they actually are carnivorous and not hematophagous.

Thus they are also known as great false vampire bats. These bats were also given some fruit in captivity which they absolutely refused to consume.

Are they aggressive?

There has been no account of this bat being aggressive towards humans. Even though some bats, especially vampire bats can turn to humans when their food source all but disappears, the V. spectrum has ample food source in the form of small animals and thus, does not harm humans.

Would they make a good pet?

The answer to this is no. This is not only true about this specific species of bat, but also all other bats.

Keeping them in captivity is one of the most taxing jobs. They usually do not live as long in captivity as they do in the wild. Even keeping them captive under specific care does not make much of a change.

And keeping them as pets while also keeping them alive for a long time is an almost impossible job. So, no, you should not try to keep a bat as your pet.

Did you know...

Spectral bats are the only bats that belong to the genus Vampyrum, and their closest living relatives are the big-eared woolly bats.

Do spectral bats drink human blood?

No, spectral bats do not drink human blood. Actually, they do not drink any blood. For a long time they were thought to be hematophagous, but it turned out that they were just carnivorous. That is why the V. Spectrum is also called the great false vampire bat.

Why is it called spectral bat?

The spectral bat got its scientific name through the belief that it actually fed on animal blood. Thus the genus name Vampyrum. But later it was found out that they were not sanguivorous but carnivorous. And thus, they are also called the great false vampire bats.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our ghost bat facts and greater mouse-eared bat facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable spectral bat coloring pages.

*Please note, the main image is of a fruit bat, not a spectral bat. If you have an image of a spectral bat, please let us know at

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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