How Long Do Bats Live? Why Do Bats 'Hang' Around For So Long?

Shirin Biswas
Mar 01, 2024 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Oct 30, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
The grey-headed flying fox.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

Nighttime is magical for humans since they are introduced to many fascinating creatures, like some adorable, little bats!

While you may have seen a brown or gray bat species in flight a couple of times, have you ever wondered how long that bat would live? If the answer was yes, you will be astonished to know that bats can live for not just a year or two, but for 30 years!

Not only can these mammals fly, but they are also even beneficial for humans. Contrary to popular belief, bats are in fact beneficial since they help in pollination, and their feces can be used as fertilizer. Bats, however, are threatened by a couple of factors and live for fewer years in the wild. There are many more facts that are sure to amuse you. Keep reading to know about these amusing creatures!

If you enjoyed this article, why not also check out what does bat poop look like and why do bats sleep upside down.

How long can bats live in the attic?

Bats are one of the most fascinating creatures, and also one of the many animals that are infamous among humans for the supposed threats that they pose. While there is some merit to the threats that they pose towards human beings, the service that these animals provide in terms of pest control can hardly be denied. Additionally, it is always useful to gather all the knowledge about an animal and its different species before deciding if it is good or otherwise. One of the bat-related facts that have been of particular interest for bat enthusiasts and scientists is the lifespan of the different species of the animal. If you have recently noticed a bat infestation in your attic and have been wondering how long it would be before the mammal would survive and if you should be hiring pest control, the simplest answer is that a bat may live in your attic for years if not decades. Bats have an average lifespan of around 20 years, which is an astounding number considering that a 'bat year' is equivalent to four 'human years'! This means, that an average bat can live in your attic for at least 20 years, returning to roost at a particular time of the year.

Additionally, since food and shelter are easily found in the attics of human houses, the lives of these mammals would be much longer when in a house as compared to bats living in the wild.

Average Bat Lifetime

The lifespan of bats is largely specific to the bat species in question. Certain species have an average longevity of about seven years, while still others could be flying around in search of insects and other objects to eat for as many as 30 years and upwards!

Colonies of bats mostly fare particularly well when new pups have survived the winter. An average bat lives to be quite old as long as it is able to find warmer areas for hibernation during the first winter season. The golden capped fruit bats, for instance, can live for as many as 23 years when in captivity! While on the other hand, the bumblebee bat can only live for around five years.

These mammals, however, live for fewer years in the wild. This is due to the threat posed by predators, humans, and even diseases such as white-nose syndrome.

Why do bats have such bizarrely long lifespans?

There has been a study or two which shows us that there are details so small such as the genetic sequencing which helps bats in increasing the number of years that they can live and hunt for, if they happen to survive attacks from predators and humans.

These mammals have also been of interest to scientists since they observe the lifespan of bats and their different species in order to understand their aging patterns and if there are any methods that would enable humans to have such a long life as well!

Pipistrelle bat flying.

How long do bats live in captivity?

Bats live longer in captivity as compared to in the wild. The simple reason behind this is the fact that bats like warmer roosts, which are readily found in captivity. Living in houses or shelters also saves them from predators such as birds and saves the time and energy they would be spending on their nighttime insect hunt. Therefore, not only are the inconveniences like those related to flight and food removed but even the insect-based diet is taken care of when a bat lives in captivity.

What impacts bat life expectancy?

The lifespan of a bat is largely dependent on the conditions of the wild habitat and the maintenance of a good diet. Young bats are most prone to death at an early age since they have a hard time living in caves during the winter months.

Life expectancy, in bats, is also impacted by what they eat and if they happen to have developed any medical issues. The natural habitat and its troubles often leave a bat with a disease called white-nose syndrome, which is fatal for these small mammals. They can also die because of natural predators.

Factors That Contribute To Bat Mortality

The most relevant factor that contributes to bat mortality is the threat posed to their life by human beings. Humans often remove bats from the caves and trees in which they live, which leaves them with no spot for hibernation. Caves also provide protection from natural predators, hence, birds often eat bats that have been removed from their roosts.

While a bat can live for about 20 years when it has enough insects to feed on and even the slightest of shelter to live in, they are likely to be much more threatened in the wild.

Did You Know!

The longest living bat lived for no less than 41 years!

These animals live so long because they have fewer mortality risks and spend their time in hiding or hibernation.

Baby bats are known as pups and are blind at birth.

Female bats take care of their pups until they are capable of flying and catching their own insects.

A little brown bat can live for around six to seven years.

Bats are one of the only mammals capable of flying. This is made possible due to the small size of a bat's body.

Bats provide their service to humans by helping in fruit pollination.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how long do bats live then why not take a look at bats as pets, or Mexican free tailed bat facts.

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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