Colonizing Bat Information

The three most common colonizing bat species in the USA that enter and live in buildings are:
Little Brown Bat (northern states)
Big Brown Bat (all over)
Brazilian Freetail Bat (southern states)

Bat Biology
Bats are the mammals with wings in place of forelimbs. They are the only mammals who have the ability to fly. There are about 1240 species of bats present around the globe. Based on the food they eat they can be classified as insectivores – those who eat insects, frugivores – those who eat fruits, fish eating bats and vampire bats – the parasitic species. They play a vital role in dispersing fruit seeds and pollinating flowers. They also eat pests and thus help in vegetation. The smallest bat is 29 to 34 mm in length with wing span of 15cm. They weigh around two to 2.6 grams. The largest bats, however, weigh around 1.2 kgs, are 336 to 343 cm in length and have a wing span of 1.5 meters.

Though not completely blind, the eyes of bats are not well developed, but they make up for that lack with a good sense of hearing and smell. They travel more than 800 kms in search of food and prefer hunting at night as this eliminates their competition – other birds. Their teeth are designed in a way that they can break the protective shell of any of their prey. They also have specially designed ‘one way valves’ in veins and arteries.

They follow a system called echolocation where they emit ultrasonic sound through their mouth and detect the echo received back. Echolocation allows the brain to analyze and tells them the exact surrounding environment and also the position, shape and size of their prey.

Because of their ability to fly, bats are most widely distributed in the world as compared to other mammals. They are even present in some isolated islands in the ocean. A habitat of bats should have the two basic requirements. First is the availability of roots where the bats can rest and hibernate during the day time. The second is an area with abundance of food which they can hunt and eat.

Little brown, big brown and Mexican freetail bats are the three most common species of bats and are the colonizing species of bats. The little brown and big brown species are common in northern half of US while the Mexican freetail bats are found in south western parts of the country.

Life Cycle
Most breeds of the bats have a breeding period depending on the climate zone they live in. Bats in temperate climate breed during the spring time. Bats have only one offspring at a time and can give birth three times in a year. Female bats fly and gather food even during the time of pregnancy. The young ones are taken care of by female bats till the time they are fully grown and can fly on their own. The females have the capability of delaying the birth to coincide with the availability of maximum amount food. They can store the sperm in their reproductive tract for several months before they are used for fertilization. In few other species, the egg is fertilized but while the outside conditions are not favorable, it remains in the reproductive tract. The life expectancy of a bat is around 20 years.

Diseases they carries
Bats are known to be the carriers of diseases like histoplasmosis and rabies. However, only about five percent of bats carry rabies. Histoplasmosis is caused by the droppings of bats; however, the chances of a human contracting this disease are low.

Problems caused to Human Beings
Bats do not chew the buildings but their droppings and urine gets accumulated over a period of time. This certainly does not look good and after some time may damage the wooden areas. Also, they can cause marks on the walls or ceilings by rubbing their wings. They are loud when they fly around in search for food and they can even be heard ‘crawling’ around in attics. They also live in chimneys.

Go back to the How Do You Get Rid of Bats in Buildings home page.

More Bat Information:
Biology of Big Brown Bat
Biology of Little Brown Bat
Biology of Mexican Freetail Bat
Biology of Evening Bat
How to use one-way exclusion funnels to remove bats without trapping them
How to get bats out of the attic
Will a bat in the attic have a nest of babies?
Will repellents get a bat out of the attic? (none work well)
What if a bat got inside my house, bedroom, kitchen, etc.
How to get bats out of a wall
Will a bright light or high pitch sound deterrent machine work on bats?
Do mothballs or ammonia help repel bats?
Will a pest control company remove a bat
Will the city or county animal services help me with a bat issue?
Should I hire a pro, or remove bats myself?
How to keep bats out of a barn
What is a bat’s mating habits?
Is bat feces dangerous to touch or breathe?
What is a bat’s natural diet?
Do more bats live in urban areas, or wild areas?
What are some of the symptoms of a sick bat?
What diseases do bats carry?
Do bats make good pets?
Should I ever poison a bat?
Should I relocate a bat?
What should I do with a bat after I catch it in my house?
Is it legal for me to trap a bat?
What is the best material to exclude bats?
What equipment is needed to exclude a bat?
What is histoplasmosis?
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