Owl VS Bat: Complete Difference Explained

Owl VS Bat

When I tell you to think about some nocturnal creatures, that are creatures that dwell in the late hours of the night, you will probably think of the two creatures we are putting head to head today. 

One with a round face and wide, curious eyes that shine in the moonlit night, another infamous for its upside-down sleeping pose, these birds rule the night sky but still have a lot of differences between them. 

That’s right, we are talking about owls and bats. Though they both are creatures of the night, they are both special in their own way and have wonderfully vast worlds of their own, which we will explore a little today. 

So without further ado, let us dive right into it!

Owl vs Bat: Overview

ClassificationClass: Aves
Order: Strigiformes
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
SizeSmallest: 5.5 in long, and 1.1 oz
Largest: 28 in long, and 9.25 lbs
Smallest: 1.25 in long, and 0.09 oz
Largest: 5 ft 7 in long, and 3.5 lbs
AppearanceRound face with large forward-facing eyes, hooked beak, a facial disc, sharp talons.Long faces with short snouts, large rodent-like ears, and fur-covered torsos. They have sharp fangs.
DietInsects, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and even small birds.Nectar, pollen, fruit, and insects like moths, crickets, bees, mayflies, etc.
HabitatVaried habitats include mountainous regions, coniferous forests, deserts, and plains.Different habitats like woodlands, deserts, caves, bridges, and other infrastructure, and in cities.
BehaviorPrimarily nocturnal creatures, use sharp talons to hunt and swallow prey whole.Also, nocturnal creatures, they hunt using their unique and powerful echolocating abilities.
Physical PowersBinaural hearingBinocular visionEcholocation

Owl vs Bat: Appearance

Owl vs Bat

Owls have one of the most distinct features in the bird family, with their large forward-facing eyes, their round facial discs that frame their face, and their sharp hooked beaks. 

Their large eyes are tubular in structure and stay fixed inside their eye sockets. These eyes enable them to have binocular vision and give them greater depth perception in low light conditions. 

They have asymmetrical ear holes on the sides of their head, which help them in determining the exact location of the prey through time length differences. 

They have average-sized bodies that are covered in thick layers of soft plumage, that is usually cryptically colored in shades of brown, gray, tan, tan, and white.

Talking about Bats The only mammal capable of sustained flight, their wings are thinner and consist of more bones than birds. Their wings have a structure quite similar to humans with digits connected by a thin membrane in between. 

Their bodies and sometimes their heads are covered in fur while their wings generally stay naked in all species. 

They have long fox-like faces with snouts and come in a range of colors like red, brown, tan, and gray. 

They have large long ears that are an essential aid in hunting, with some bats having ears that are half the size of their body.

They have teeth that are adapted to the diet of the specific species of bats, with all of them having sharp fangs.

Owl vs Bat: Behavior

Owls are famously nocturnal birds who hunt at night and sleep for about 10-12 hours during the day. 

There are owls who are active during other times too like the diurnal burrowing owl. Owls have a lot of specialized characteristics that make them as skilled hunters as they are. 

Wide wings with serrations to swoop down quietly, and sharp talons to grab onto the unsuspecting victim after they have swooped down are some of the long lists. 

They also have binaural hearing, wherein they make use of their asymmetrical ears to understand the position of their prey. 

Their large eyes also absorb a large amount of light, making them more sensitive and receptive during the night.

Bats are also nocturnal creatures that hunt during the night and rest during the day. They have a powerful natural sonar system built into them wherein they are able to detect their prey through sound waves reflecting back alone. 

This process is called echolocation, and the echolocation of bats is so strong that scientists are looking to them when designing our sonar systems. 

They emit a high-frequency sound we cannot detect into the air, which then touches on an object (and if they’re lucky an insect!) and bounces back to them. 

This gives the bat an audible mental map of its surroundings and it is thus able to understand the shape, position, location, and distance of nearby objects.

Owls vs Bat: Diet

Owls are birds of prey, and thus have a varied diet that consists of various different types of live prey. 

They mainly feed on small mammals like rabbits, hares, and voles as well as large rodents and insects. 

Owls also enjoy a healthy serving of beetles,  bugs, amphibians, reptiles, and so on. They have also been observed to feed on other smaller nesting birds, while some of the larger owl species eat other birds of prey.

On the other hand, bats have a large list of a variety of food based on their species. 

The majority of bats found throughout the United States are insectivores and feed on a variety of insects like grasshoppers, crickets, mealy bugs, mayflies, beetles, flies, mosquitos, and so on. 

They primarily hunt for these insects during the nighttime and are an important part of the ecosystem for just how many bugs they eat.

Apart from insect-eating bats though, some bats eat pollen, they feed on the nectar of flowers and flowering plants, etc.

Owl vs Bat: Who Would Win In A Fight?

The clear winner in a stand-off between an owl and a bat is the owl, with its larger size, bigger mass, and all-around physical capabilities. 

While the sharp fangs of a bat can be deadly to tiny little insects, it cannot do much to hinder the advance of a much larger, thickly plumaged owl which is partly protected by its outer layers. 

Owls have dangerously sharp talons that could easily puncture through the bat’s skin, and the owl would be able to squeeze the last breath out of the poor thing. 

Though bats are not a constant prey for owls, many have been observed to munch on these critters, so the bat stands no chance here.

In Conclusion

And that was a complete run-down of the differences between these two night-dwelling fellas! 

They both have such wonderfully vast worlds of facts within them that enable them to thrive during the late hours of the night, and we hope you enjoyed this tiny venture into their world.

Thank you for reading!

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