The in-flight agility and sophisticated echolocation calls of the lesser false vampire bat allow them to enjoy an astoundingly varied diet. They have been recorded eating large insects such as grasshoppers, cockroaches, beetles and moths, as well as vertebrates including frogs, mice (2), fish, birds and even smaller bats (5). They are ‘gleaners’: bats that hunt by snatching their prey from tree trunks, branches, leaves, walls or the forest floor using the interfemoral membrane that stretches between the hind legs. They return to their roost to consume their prey (6).
A gentle and sociable bat, the lesser false vampire roosts in small, mixed-sex groups throughout the year. They mate between November and January, giving birth in April or June to a single pup after a 150 to 160 day gestation. The pup is carried in flight by its mother for two to three months, before it is weaned and learns to fly alone (7). The bats communicate with social calls that differ considerably from their complex hunting calls, which sweep from frequencies of 130 kHz to 10 kHz extremely rapidly (8). This style of echolocation is very effective in cluttered environments but is not easily detected by prey. The large ears of the lesser false vampire bat can, however, pick up sounds from the prey as well as very weak returning echoes (9).