In Central Amazonia, large mammals create water-filled puddles when consuming soil. These mineral licks are visited by pregnant and lactating frugivorous bats; possibly for two reasons. Frugivorous bats could supplement their mineral-depleted fruit diet by drinking salty water, or they could buffer dietary plant secondary compounds by consuming soil. We analysed bat fruits from Ecuador and showed that they are depleted in elemental concentrations (Na, K, P) compared with similar fruits collected from Costa Rica, where no mineral licks occur (n = 32). Analyses of water from Ecuador revealed that water samples from six mineral licks contained more physiologically relevant elements (Na, K, Mg, Ca) than four samples from river and stream water control sites (Mann–Whitney U-test). In support of the nutrient supplement hypothesis, we observed bats drinking mineral-enriched water at these licks (video observation). Furthermore, blood collected from 68 bats differed in composition with respect to physiologically relevant minerals (Na, K, Mg, Fe) from that of frugivorous bats captured at control sites. To test whether frugivorous bats also consumed clay for detoxification, we checked for soil tracer elements in 31 faecal samples. Soil tracers are insoluble in water and, thus, are not included in a strict fruit diet. Bats from mineral licks showed higher aluminium soil tracer concentrations in their faeces than bat species that never visit licks, suggesting that frugivorous bats take up clay material at mineral licks. Our results provide evidence that frugivorous bats ingest soluble mineral nutrients and insoluble soil by consuming soil-enriched water at mineral licks, thus supporting the hypothesis that frugivorous bats of western Amazonia may derive a dual benefit from drinking water from mineral licks.