Abstract Bite force is correlated to the morphological characters of the chewing system, and with the hardness of diets of animals, which is a critical index for foraging behaviour. Here, the bite forces of 12 bat species of three dietary groups, including frugivore, nectarivore, and insectivore, were investigated in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province during April 2012. The bite forces of bats were measured using aforce transducer when the bats were held in hand. The differences in bite forces were investigated among the three groups. We also analyzed the correlation between the bite force and body mass, forearm length, and head length of bats. Taking into account the body mass of bats, the bite force of frugivorous bats is significantly higher than that of nectarivorous bats, and the bite force of insectivorous bats is lower than that of nectarivorous bats. In addition, the bite forces of bats is positively correlated with their body mass, forearm length, and head length. Our study suggested that the bite force is mainly affected by the body mass of bats and is to a certain extent by their feeding habits. The elongation of the rostral part of the skull in nectarivorous may result in a decrease of bite force.