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Information on Bats and Bat Houses

Bats (Chiroptera)

Bats are one of the most prolific forms of mammals with over 900 species living in the world and making up over 20% of all mammals. Bats are the only form of mammal to have attained powered flight. Several mammals like flying squirrels glide but cannot stay in the air for long like bats can. In the United States there are 45 species of bats and seven species in the U.S. are in danger of extinction. These endangered species are:

 

Lesser long-nosed bat - nectar-feeding and insect eating bat of the Southwestern U.S.

 

Hawaiian hoary bat - only indigenous bat in Hawaii. Eats insects.

 

Greater (Mexican) long-nosed bat - nectar-feeding and insect eating bat that lives in the Big Bend area of southwestern Texas.

 

Virginia big-eared bat - insect eating bat that lives in a few cave in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.

 

Ozark big-eared bat - only found in some caves in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas.

 

Indiana bat - insect eating bat that during the summer lives in hollow trees and in the winter stays in just nine caves in the U.S.

 

Gray bat - eats insects and lives in a few caves in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee.

 

Indiana Bat prefer to roost in trees during warm summers and tree hollow for the cool winters. As hollow trees are cut down, bat boxes are needed for bats to survive. Mothers also need quiet places to birth and raise their pups. It is important to provide them with habitats during the birthing season of April to August.

200 bats feeding 200 days will consume more than 4400 pounds of insects.

Placement of the box:

  • It should be erected at least 10 feet off of the ground and oriented to southeast.
  • Place in an open area with at least 7 hours of direct sun.
  • Place within 1/4 mile of water source.
  • Within 10-30 yards of cover (since bats are vulnerable to predators entering and exiting)
  • Located in habitat with good foraging possibilities - forests, clearings, and wetlands - plenty of insect activity.

 

Bat Facts

  • Bats, like humans are mammals. Bats are the only mammals that can fly.
  • Female bats usually give birth to one young or pup per year.
  • Few bats drink blood. However there are some Vampire Bats that live in Central America, South America and Mexico that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals like horses, cattle and birds. The Vampire bat makes a small cut in a sleeping animal's skin and laps up the blood from the wound. Vampire bats need about 2 teaspoons of blood a day to live.
  • Bats are nocturnal—active at night, resting during the day. Bats have excellent eyesight, and are never “Blind as a bat!” To find their way around in the dark, they use echolocation or a built in sonar.
  • Bats can weigh as little as two grams (less than 1/10 of an ounce) or as much as two pounds.