The Noctilionidae family of bats, commonly known as bulldog bats or fisherman bats, are represented by two species, the greater and the lesser bulldog bats. They are found near water, from Mexico to Argentina. The naked bulldog bat (Cheiromeles torquatus) does not belong to this family, but to the family Molossidae, the free-tailed bats.
The bulldog bats have orange to brown fur, and range in head-body length from 7 to 14 cm. They have relatively long legs and large feet, exceptionally so in the case of the greater bulldog bat. Unusual among bats, they have cheek-pouches for storing food, which give them their bulldog-like appearance. Both species are insectivorous, although the greater bulldog bat also eats small fish, using its echolocation to pinpoint the ripples they make on the surfaces of water.
The greater bulldog bat trawls the water with its long, curved talons approximately 2–3 cm below the surface. It makes sweeps of between 30 cm and 3 m before ascending and turning to make a return sweep. In a single night, the bat may catch 20-30 small fish in this way.
- Simmons, Nancy B. (2005). "Chiroptera". In Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M.. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 312–529. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. http://www.bucknell.edu/MSW3/browse.asp?s=y&id=13801508. Retrieved 4 October 2009
- Macdonald, D., ed. (1984). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 805. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.
- Piper, Ross (2007), Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals, Greenwood Press.