The Story Behind Ozzy Osbourne Biting The Head Off A Bat Onstage

One of the most infamous onstage moments in rock history occurred in 1982 when Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat during a concert. The bizarre and shocking incident cemented Osbourne’s outrageous reputation.

If you’re wondering exactly what happened when Ozzy bit the head off a bat, why he did it, and the aftermath, read on. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide the full story behind Ozzy Osbourne’s bat-biting incident, from how it happened on that fateful night to the rabies scare that followed.

The Onstage Incident

Ozzy Osbourne, the legendary heavy metal artist, is no stranger to controversy. One incident that has become synonymous with his name is the infamous act of biting the head off a bat during a live performance.

This shocking incident took place in the early 1980s and has since become a part of rock and roll folklore.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ozzy Osbourne (@ozzyosbourne)

Osbourne was performing with Black Sabbath

At the time of the incident, Osbourne was the lead singer of the iconic band Black Sabbath. Known for their dark and theatrical performances, the band had gained a massive following and was at the peak of their popularity.

Fans would flock to their concerts to witness the raw energy and intensity that Black Sabbath brought to the stage.

A fan threw a bat onto the stage

During one particular concert, as Osbourne was giving it his all on stage, a fan threw a bat onto the stage. The unexpected presence of the bat took everyone by surprise, including Osbourne. In the heat of the moment, he had no idea whether the bat was real or fake.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the incident was not the first time a fan had thrown a live animal on stage during a Black Sabbath concert? In a previous show, a fan had thrown a live dove, which unfortunately didn’t survive the incident.

Osbourne bit its head off, thinking it was fake

Without hesitation, Osbourne picked up the bat and, to everyone’s shock, bit its head off. It was later revealed that Osbourne had mistakenly believed the bat to be a rubber or toy prop. He had been expecting a fake bat as a part of the stage theatrics, but instead, he ended up with a real one.

The incident quickly became a major news story, with headlines around the world documenting the shocking and gruesome act. Osbourne faced immense backlash, with animal rights activists condemning his actions.

However, it’s important to note that Osbourne has since expressed regret for the incident and has become an advocate for animal welfare.

Osbourne’s Explanations

Claimed he thought it was rubber

One of the most famous incidents in rock history is when Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat during a live concert. When asked about this shocking act, Osbourne initially claimed that he thought the bat was made of rubber.

He explained that he often received strange items from fans during his performances, and he assumed the bat was just another prop. However, it later turned out that Osbourne’s explanation was not entirely accurate.

Later admitted he was drunk at the time

After the incident gained widespread attention, Ozzy Osbourne eventually admitted that he was under the influence of alcohol when he bit the bat’s head off. He confessed that he had been drinking heavily before the concert and was in a intoxicated state during the performance.

While this admission doesn’t excuse his behavior, it provides some insight into his mindset at the time.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ozzy Osbourne (@ozzyosbourne)

Said it was a split-second reaction

Another explanation Osbourne offered for biting the bat’s head off was that it was a split-second reaction. He claimed that he didn’t realize it was a real bat until it was too late, and in the heat of the moment, he bit down on it.

While this explanation may seem hard to believe, it’s worth noting that rock stars often engage in shocking and impulsive acts onstage to entertain their audiences.

It’s important to remember that this incident took place in 1982, a time when Ozzy Osbourne was known for his wild and unpredictable behavior. While biting the head off a bat is certainly extreme, it is just one example of the many controversial and outrageous incidents that have marked Osbourne’s career.

Public and Media Reaction

Fans thought it was part of the act

When Ozzy Osbourne famously bit the head off a bat onstage, many fans initially believed it was all part of the shock value and theatrics of his performance. Known for his wild and unpredictable behavior, Osbourne had already built a reputation as the “Prince of Darkness.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ozzy Osbourne (@ozzyosbourne)

So, when he picked up a bat that was thrown onto the stage during a concert in 1982, fans assumed it was just another shocking moment in his larger-than-life persona. Little did they know, this incident would go down in rock and roll history.

Incident fueled Osbourne’s controversial image

The incident of biting the head off a bat further fueled Osbourne’s already controversial image. It solidified his reputation as a rebellious and unpredictable rock star who was willing to push boundaries and shock his audience.

The media coverage surrounding the incident only amplified the public’s fascination with Osbourne’s outrageous behavior. While some may have been horrified or disgusted by his actions, others saw it as a symbol of his defiance against societal norms and expectations.

Osbourne faced heavy criticism and backlash

Despite some fans embracing the bat-biting incident as part of Osbourne’s rebellious persona, the majority of the public and media responded with outrage and criticism. Animal rights activists condemned Osbourne for his cruel treatment of animals, while others accused him of promoting violence and setting a bad example for his impressionable fans.

The incident led to widespread backlash and even legal consequences for Osbourne.

The Bat Bite’s Aftermath

After the shocking incident of Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat onstage, the aftermath was filled with medical concerns and treatments. Let’s take a closer look at what happened next.

Osbourne was rushed to get rabies treatments

Immediately after the incident, Ozzy Osbourne was taken to the hospital to receive urgent rabies treatments. Bats are known carriers of the rabies virus, a deadly disease that affects the nervous system.

Given the potential risk of infection, it was crucial for Osbourne to receive medical attention as soon as possible.

According to CDC, rabies can be transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, and the virus can enter the body through broken skin or mucous membranes. It was important for Osbourne to undergo preventive measures to minimize the risk of contracting the disease.

Doctors confirmed he didn’t contract rabies

Fortunately, the tests conducted on Ozzy Osbourne showed that he did not contract rabies from the bat bite. The immediate medical attention he received played a significant role in preventing the spread of the virus.

This news was a huge relief for both Osbourne and his fans, who were concerned about his well-being.

It is worth noting that rabies is a serious and often fatal disease if left untreated. The CDC recommends immediate medical attention and post-exposure prophylaxis for anyone who has been bitten by a potentially rabid animal.

Osbourne’s quick action and the expertise of the medical professionals involved ensured a favorable outcome in this case.

Osbourne had to get rabies shots for the rest of the tour

Although Osbourne tested negative for rabies, he still had to receive a series of rabies shots as a precautionary measure. This decision was made to ensure his continued safety and to address any potential unknowns regarding the bat’s health status.

Getting rabies shots is a standard protocol in cases of animal bites that may carry the virus. The vaccinations help the body develop immunity against the rabies virus, providing an added layer of protection.

Despite the inconvenience of having to undergo these shots, Osbourne remained determined to continue with his tour and deliver memorable performances to his devoted fans.

Legacy of the Notorious Moment

The incident where Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat onstage has become an infamous moment in rock history. Its impact can be seen in various aspects of Osbourne’s career, highlighting the lasting legacy of this shocking act.

Cemented Osbourne’s ‘Prince of Darkness’ persona

Ozzy Osbourne’s biting of the bat’s head solidified his reputation as the ‘Prince of Darkness.’ This incident, which occurred during a concert in Des Moines, Iowa in 1982, showcased Osbourne’s rebellious and unpredictable nature.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ozzy Osbourne (@ozzyosbourne)

It added to his mystique and further fueled the public’s fascination with his dark image. From that moment on, Osbourne became synonymous with shock value and a willingness to push boundaries.

Used in marketing Black Sabbath tours and albums

The bat-biting incident became a marketing tool for Black Sabbath’s tours and albums. It was cleverly incorporated into their promotional material, creating buzz and intrigue among fans. The shocking act served as a symbol of the band’s rebellious and edgy nature, attracting both devoted followers and curious onlookers.

This marketing tactic helped Black Sabbath maintain their popularity and draw large crowds to their live shows.

Remains an iconic moment in rock history

Decades after the incident, Osbourne’s bat-biting act continues to be one of the most iconic and talked-about moments in rock history. It has been referenced and parodied in various forms of media, cementing its place in popular culture.

The incident has become a symbol of the wild and unpredictable nature of rock music, solidifying Osbourne’s status as a rock legend. It serves as a reminder of the boundary-pushing and larger-than-life characters that have shaped the genre.


Ozzy Osbourne’s shocking decision to bite the head off a live bat during a 1982 concert has gone down as one of the most unbelievable moments in rock history. While Osbourne claimed he thought the bat was fake, the incident revealed his wild unpredictable nature and thirst for theatrics.

Even though it was unplanned and potentially dangerous, the bat-biting became a defining story that bolstered Osbourne’s controversial image as the ‘Prince of Darkness’. While risky and objectionable to some, it remains an iconic milestone that encapsulates the crazy unpredictable spirit of rock n’ roll.

Similar Posts