For How Long Do Bats Live?

By Cindi Pearce

The record for the longest living bat is 32 years, which is extremely unusual. This oldster was a brown bat.The majority of bats do not stick around long enough to celebrate their first birthday. Bats are at most risk for an early demise when they are young.

Function of a Bat

Although the thought of a bat makes many people cringe, this creature does serve an important purpose. Bats eat mosquitoes and other harmful insects. They also pollinate fruit, such as mangoes and bananas.


Young bats have a high mortality rate because some fall from the roof of where they were sheltered and can’t climb back, and many die because of parasites or other diseases. If they do manage to survive, they grow quickly and within three weeks of birth they can fly, according to the Smithsonian.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Youth

If a bat can avoid the hazards of youth, he can live to be 20 years old. These fortunate bats have a longer lifespan than other mammals of their size, such as rodents, who only live two years tops. If a bat is kept in captivity, its lifespan can be 20 years. According to the San Diego Zoo, the average lifespan of a bat is five years.


The biggest threat to a bat is a human, who kills the bat or destroys its habitat. Other threats include small mammals, birds of prey and snakes, but these threats affect the bat population less than the weather does. Bats died during long winters and are killed during storms when they are migrating. When forest and cave systems are destroyed, this also affects the bat's ability to survive.

© Demand Media 2011