Barn Owl controlling Fruit Bats roosting on eaves of houses

posted in: barn owl, Bats | 0

I was recently informed by Prof. Tan Teck Koon that the eaves of his house were once infested with roosting Common Fruit Bats (Cynopterus brachyotis). The colony numbered about 15 bats and there was one with a baby bat clinging onto the mother.

The bats would fly in and out of the roosting site in the evenings to cling onto the wooden eves, to sleep during the day. Once in a while one or more may end up inside the house. Often the bats brought with them fruits too large to manipulate in flight. This was at level three of the house, just outside his daughter’s room. Once, a young was found dead in the pond below, apparently it fell into it and drowned. Every morning the ground below had to be cleaned of bats’ droppings as well as bits and pieces of fruits. He tried to discourage the bats by various means but without success.

An image of the Barn Owl taken by a surprised Prof. Tan Teck Koon when it came to feed on the bats at his house.

One morning he heard a ruckus around where the bats were roosting. Rushing out to check, he was surprised when he came face to face with a large brown owl with a white face. It was causing panic among the roosting bats. He managed to take a few photos but unfortunately they were not very clear. However, he clearly remembers the face of the owl in the glare of his hand phone and identified the owl as a Barn Owl (Tyto alba) when shown an image of it (below).

An image of the Barn Owl by David Tan

Apparently the Barn Owl had been feasting on the roosting bats. The house is now free of bats.


Common Fruit Bats roosting on the eves of houses is common in Singapore HERE.


YC Wee


3rd July 2022



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