The 34 Types of Bats Found in the United States! (ID GUIDE)

How can anyone in the United States think that bats are scary?

bat intro pic

 

Despite what you see in the movies, these fascinating flying mammals wouldn’t hurt a fly! Well, technically, they would hurt a fly, or a mosquito, or a moth. But other than that, bats are harmless. đŸ™‚

 

Did you know there are 34 kinds of bats in the United States?

 

It’s hard to believe the diversity and amount of species that can be found in the United States! But, unfortunately, when you see a bat, it’s typically pretty difficult to determine which kind of bat it is.

 

These nocturnal creatures fly incredibly fast and are only active at night. I only see bats flying against the sky as the sun is starting to set, which makes it almost impossible to identify them correctly

 

Check out my other guides about animals in the United States!

 

34 Types of Bats That Live in the United States:

 


#1. Big Brown Bat

  • Eptesicus fuscus

big brown bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Larger-sized bat with around a 12-inch wingspan.
  • Brown fur with black ears, wings, and feet. Wings are hairless.

 

Big Brown Bats are widespread all over the United States.

 

If you look, you’ll find these bats inside caves, tunnels, or other human structures.

Big Brown Bat Range Map

big brown bat range map

This nocturnal bat primarily eats insects, especially ones that fly at night. However, their preference is to eat beetles.

 

The Cucumber Beetle is their favorite, which benefits farmers because these insects are terrible pests for agriculture. Many farmers in the United States even use bat boxes to attract Big Brown Bats to their property!

 

Though rabies is common in all bats, research has shown the disease is rarer in this species.

 

The reason for this fact is that many Big Brown Bats have immunity to rabies. Interestingly, researchers discovered that these rabies antibodies get passed down from generation to generation!

 


#2. Hoary Bat

  • Lasiurus cinereus

hoary bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Brown hair with grayish-white tips. Wings and belly are brown and hairless, with a wingspan approximately 15.5 inches.
  • Males are almost double the size of females.

 

You’ll typically find Hoary Bats roosting on trees in woodland forests. But occasionally, they will go into caves to stay with other bats.

Hoary Bat Range Map

hoary bat range map

 

This species prefers to hunt for prey while flying over wide-open areas or lakes. Hoary Bats hunt alone and enjoy eating moths. They’re known to travel up to 24 miles in a single night to gather food!

 

Though the Hoary Bat is not endangered, it does suffer a loss in numbers because of wind turbines. Hoarys’ migrate each year back and forth from North America to Central America, and it’s thought that they confuse the wind turbine with being a tree as they seek a place to rest. As you can imagine, these bats meet a horrible death.

 


#3. Silver-haired Bat

  • Lasionycteris noctivagans

silver haired bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Medium-sized bat, flathead, and the upper part of the tail are covered in thick fur.
  • Mostly black all over with white tips on hairs, with a wingspan that is approximately 11.5 inches.

 

This species is known to fly more slowly than other bats in the United States.

 

Look for Silver-haired Bats in forests inside tree cavities or bark crevices. They’ve also been known to seek shelter in outbuildings.

Silver-haired Bat Range Map

silver haired bat range map

Silver-haired Bats hunt for soft-bodied insects, such as moths. Interestingly, they also eat a lot of spiders. They accomplish this feat by foraging low to the ground to find food, unlike many other bats.

 

Unfortunately, rabies occurs more often in this species when compared to other bats.

 


#4. Little Brown Bat

  • Myotis lucifugus

little brown bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Glossy brown fur on the body. Wings are hairless and black with a wingspan that is approximately 9 to 11 inches.
  • Despite its name, it has no connection to the Big Brown Bat.

 

This bat is common and lives throughout the United States.

 

Look for them in sheltered places such as human structures, woodpiles, tree hollows, and occasionally caves.

Little Brown Bat Range Map

little brown bat range map

 

Little Brown Bats will commonly use a bat house for roosting. Many people put up bat houses to attract them to their property to control pests like mosquitos or insects that harm crops.

 

Little Brown Bats only have a few natural predators, like owls or raccoons. Unfortunately, most of their mortality is caused by parasites or White-nose syndrome.

 

White-nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that grows around the bats’ mouths, ears, and wings. This illness is spread during hibernation and is responsible for the loss of over one million Little Brown Bats between 2006 and 2011. As of 2018, the Little Brown Bat is an endangered species.

 


#5. Eastern Red Bat

  • Lasiurus borealis

eastern red bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Medium-sized tree bat with thick, long fur. Ears are short and round. Wings are long, pointed, and have a wingspan of approximately 13 inches.
  • Males have distinctive rusty red-colored fur, and females have more of a soft shade of red.
  • Both have white patches of fur on their shoulder.

 

Eastern Red Bats like to roost in trees in the United States.

 

I love their red fur, which I think makes them look cute!

Eastern Red Bat Range Map

eastern red bat range map

These bats are relatively fast flyers with good maneuverability. They are insectivorous, which means they prey primarily on different insects, with their favorite being moths.

 

Unlike most bats that only produce one offspring, Eastern Red Bats have three pups in a litter.

 

Eastern Red Bats have few predators. However, sometimes hawks, aggressive Blue Jays, and crows will attack them. This bat is also killed by flying into cars or wind turbines. Unfortunately, this species has the second-highest mortality rate from wind turbines.

 


#6. Tricolored Bat

  • Perimyotis subflavus

tricolored bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Small bat with blond hair on the chest. Their wingspan is approximately 8 to 10 inches.
  • The “tricolor” name comes from the coloration of the three distinct bands of hairs on their back: dark gray on the bottom, yellowish-brown in the middle, and brown or reddish-brown on top.
  • Formerly known as the Eastern Pipistrelle.

 

This species is the smallest bat found in the eastern United States!

 

Despite their small stature, Tricolored Bats can live to be 15 years old, which is a long time for bats! And interestingly, Tricolored Bats mate in the fall, but the female stores the sperm and doesn’t become pregnant until spring.

Tricolored Bat Range Map

tricolored bat range map

 

Did you know the Tricolored Bat’s natural predators include many birds of prey, snakes, skunks, other bats, and Northern Leopard Frogs? It’s crazy to think of a frog eating a bat, but it shows how tiny these mammals are!

 

Tricolored Bats used to be considered one of the most common bats around. But, unfortunately, their numbers have been decimated by White-nose Syndrome. It’s thought that 70% of their population has succumbed to this fungal disease.

 


#7. Northern Long-eared Bat

  • Myotis septentrionalis

northern long eared bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Fur and wing membranes are tan, with black ears and black wings: long tail and a wingspan up to 10 inches.
  • Look for their long pointed ears.
  • Also called the Northern Myotis.

 

Northern Long-eared Bats are found in the United States in forested habitats with spruce and pine trees. They typically roost in trees during the summer and switch to a new roost every other day. In the fall, these bats migrate to caves to hibernate together with other species of bats.

Northern Long-eared Bat Range Map

northern long eared bat range map

Northern Long-eared Bats have incredibly accurate echolocation calls, which helps them navigate their dense forest environments.

 

Unlike most bats, Northern Long-eared Bats capture their prey by plucking them from a surface rather than catching them while in flight. They eat insects, with moths being their favorite.

 

Sadly, the Northern Long-eared Bat has been threatened by White-nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that kills many bats. This disease has decreased their population by 99%. Click play to learn more below!

 


#8. Evening Bat

  • Nycticeius humeralis

evening bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bat with a prominent dog-like jaw.
  • The majority are dark brown with black muzzle, ears, legs, and wings, but some are a lighter brown. Their wingspan is approximately 10.5 inches.

 

The Evening Bat doesn’t enter or even hibernate in caves, which is good news because that helps them avoid White-nose syndrome, a terrible disease that has killed millions of bats over the years.

 

But the bad news is:

 

They have a shorter life span than other bats in the United States.

 

Evening Bat Range Map

evening bat range map

 

Most only live for 4 years, but some are lucky enough to make it to 6 years.

 

Look for Evening Bats roosting in structures, including tree cavities, under bark, in Spanish moss, and buildings. They eat a wide variety of insects, including beetles, moths, winged ants, and flies.

 


#9. Eastern Small-footed Bat

  • Myotis leibii

eastern small footed bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Small bat with a short flat head and a dark black face that resembles a dark mask.
  • Black ears, wings, and feet. Shiny brown dense fur, pointy ears, and sloped forehead. Their wingspan is approximately 8 to 10 inches.

 

The Eastern Small-footed Bat is one of the smallest bats in the United States.

 

Eastern Small-footed Bats get their name from their abnormally small hind feet, which you can see in the photo above.

Eastern Small-footed Bat Range Map

eastern small footed bat range map

This species, like most bats, feeds on flying insects such as moths, beetles, and flies. But the Eastern Small-footed is capable of filling their stomachs within an hour of eating. So these bats prefer fast food to fine dining. đŸ™‚

 

The Eastern Small-footed Bat has more extended thumbs and claws at the top of its wings than other bats. This adaptation helps them immensely because they spend much of their time climbing in rocky areas.

 

This species has several threats, including White-nose syndrome, water pollution, and human disturbance during hibernation. Even small amounts of noise and light are enough to wake bats. When a bat wakes up during hibernation, it expends energy and depletes its fat reserves to survive winter. So sadly, if a bat is repeatedly disturbed, it will likely die and not live until spring.

 


#10. Indiana Bat

  • Myotis sodalist

Indiana bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The fur can be black or dark brown, and the belly can be light gray to reddish-brown. Their wingspan is approximately 9 to 11 inches.
  • The best way to tell them apart from other brown bats is their pink lips.

 

The Indiana Bat is highly endangered in the United States.

 

Its population has decreased by more than 50% over the past 10 years. But, unfortunately, they can quickly spread White-nose Syndrome to each other because they hibernate in such large groups.

 

Indiana Bat Range Map

indiana bat range map

These bats live in a variety of habitats all over the eastern United States. First, they’re found primarily in hardwood forests in giant trees. Then in winter, many of these species get together in different caves and hibernate in large masses.

 


#11. Townsend’s Big-eared Bat

  • Corynorhinus townsendii

townsend's big eared bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Medium-sized bat with extraordinarily long and thin ears. Lumps on each side of the nose.
  • Dense fur all over, colors vary from grayish brown to brown. Their wingspan is approximately 12 to 13 inches.

 

It’s pretty easy to see how these bats got their name! Their large ears are essential, as they help them distinguish between ambient noise and sounds of prey or predators.

Townsend’s Big-eared Bat Range Map

townsend's big eared bat range map

 

During summer, males and females inhabit different roosting sites. Males live alone, while females form colonies where they raise their pups.

 

This species is known as a “whisper bat” because it echolocates much lower than other bats. This comes in handy when foraging on moths because moths can hear bats’ echolocation. So, as you can see, being quieter gives Townsend’s Big-eared Bat an advantage.

 


#12. Mexican Free-tailed Bat

  • Tadarida brasiliensis

mexican free tailed bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bat with gray fur on front and back, face, ears, wings, and legs are light black.
  • Ears are short and rounded with lines inside and ruffled on the bottom.
  • Wings are elongated and narrow with pointed tips. Their wingspan is approximately 12 to 14 inches.

 

The Mexican Free-tailed Bat is the fastest in the United States!

 

Their long narrow wings help make them quick and have direct flight patterns while catching their flying prey. They also use echolocation to help to navigate in the night sky.

Mexican Free-tailed Bat Range Map

mexican free tailed bat range map

This species primarily roosts in caves, but they can be found in any structure with an opening and dark hiding place.

 

Mexican Free-tailed Bats have glands in their skin that cover their body. These glands leave a scent that other bats can smell, so they know that this roost is only for the Mexican Free-tailed Bats.

 


#13. Big Free-tailed Bat

  • Nyctinomops macrotis

big free tailed bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Fur can vary in color from pale, reddish-brown, or blackish. Glossy in color.
  • Wings are thin, long, and narrow. Their wingspan is approximately 16.4 to 17.2 inches.

 

This bat primarily lives in rugged and rocky terrain in the United States, where it stays inside crevices. However, you can also find them roosting in plants or trees, such as a Douglas fir, ponderosa pines, and desert shrubs. Every year, they migrate to Mexico.

Big Free-tailed Bat Range Map

big free tailed bat range map

The Big Free-tailed Bat is nocturnal and only leaves its roost after the sun goes down to search for food. They mainly eat giant moths but also hunt ground insects like crickets and stinkbugs.

 

While Big Free-tailed Bats are hunting, you can hear their loud chatter.

 

This species is a strong flyer and tends to wander, which sometimes means they are in residential homes. Though the Big Free-tailed Bat is not aggressive, it will bite if cornered or handled.

 


#14. Western Small-footed Myotis

  • Myotis ciliolabrum

western small footed myotis pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bat, with yellowish-brown fur and sometimes white underparts.
  • The muzzle, chin, and ears are black. Ears are also long. Their wingspan is approximately 8 to 10 inches.
  • Feet are tiny, just as their name suggests.

 

The Western Small-footed Bat is found in semi-arid habitats in the United States.

 

Though this bat is a slower flyer, it can maneuver well. The Western Small-footed Bat tends to feed close to the water, searching for insects like beetles, moths, and flies.

Western Small-footed Bat Range Map

western small footed myotis range map

 

Western Small-footed Bat females roost in groups, and males roost alone, but both hibernate in winter in solitude.

 


#15. Seminole Bat

  • Lasiurus seminolus

seminole bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bat with round and short ears. Wingspan is approximately 8 to 10 inches.
  • Darker red fur with white-tipped hairs on their back

 

Seminole Bats are mainly found in forests in the United States.

 

Seminole Bat Range Map

seminole bat range map

In particular, they’re closely associated with forests that have Spanish moss since that is where they roost during spring and winter. Professional moss gatherers often find these bats inside clumps.

 

Even though Seminole Bats seem to be common, not much research has been done on them. For example, scientists have no idea about their average lifespan.

 

These bats are insectivores and feed primarily on ants, bees, wasps, beetles, and moths. Interestingly, they take advantage of street lights that attract lots of bugs.

 


#16. Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat

  • Corynorhinus rafinesquii

rafinesque's big eared bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The fur is gray on the back and white on the belly. Face and ears are pinkish browns.
  • Wings are dark brown, and ears are very long, measuring over an inch (hence their name).
  • Wingspan is approximately 10 to 12 inches.

 

The Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat lives in a variety of places. They prefer mature forests but will also go into abandoned buildings or under bridges.

Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat Range Map

rafinesque's big eared bat range map

This nocturnal bat is insectivorous and feeds on mosquitoes, beetles, and flies. Their diet consists of over 90% moths, which are located using echolocation.

 

Luckily, the White-nose Syndrome fungus, which kills many species of bats, doesn’t affect the Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat.

 


#17. Long-legged Bat

  • Myotis Volans

long legged bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Fur color can vary from light or dark brown to reddish-brown. Tips of ears touch the side of their nose. Wingspan is approximately 10 to 12 inches.
  • Unlike other bats, they have fur on the underside of their wings from their elbows to their knees.
  • They got their name from having a longer tibia bone when compared to other bats.

 

The Long-legged Bat has unique feet that allow them to hang upside down for an extended time and not waste any energy. This feat is accomplished by locking their toes in place. In addition, special cavities in their head prevent blood from going to their brain.

Long-legged Bat Range Map

long legged bat range map

These bats prefer to roost in barks of trees, crevices in rocks, caves, and even buildings. They like to spend time in higher elevations in summer and then in winter will come down and live and hibernate in caves and mines.

 

Like other bats in the United States, they primarily eat mainly moths using echolocation. However, the Long-legged Bat differs because they get a head start over other bats! They do this by leaving their roost early, foraging before sunset, and then eating throughout the entire night.

 

Check out this video to see how the Long-legged Bat uses echolocation to catch moths!

 


#18. Yuma Myotis

  • Myotis yumanensis

yuma myotis pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bat, fur varying from dark brown to grayish. Underside fur is dull and pale. Wingspan is approximately 9.4 inches.
  • Feet are large and wide, ears long straight and thin, short head and broad snout.

 

These bats are found in many different lowland habitats in the United States, including coniferous forests and dry scrub forests. However, they are typically always near water.

Yuma Bat Range Map

yuma myotis range map

You will often see them in huge groups in caves, buildings, mines, or other structures.

 

The Yuma bat is an opportunistic hunter and is not picky about what it eats. They will consume whatever is most abundant in that area, such as beetles and other soft-bodied insects. Look for them flying over slow-moving water or by vegetation as they forage for insects.

 

Interestingly, these bats will sometimes use their tail membranes as a pouch to catch larger insect prey.

 


#19. Southeastern Myotis

  • Myotis austroriparius

southeastern myotis pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The fur varies from bright orange-brown to gray. The wingspan is approximately 9 to 11 inches.
  • Females are often more brightly colored than males.

 

This bat prefers bottomland hardwood forests in the United States.

 

Look for them near water, as this is where they like to roost and search for food. The diet of the Southeastern Myotis consists mainly of caddisflies.

Southeastern Myotis Range Map

southeastern myotis range map

 

The Southeastern Myotis are a crucial food source for the Barred Owl during nesting season. Interesting, when it’s not the nesting season, the owls tend to leave the bats alone.

 

This species is unique compared to other bats in the United States because females primarily have twins. Most other bats only have one offspring.

 


#20. Gray Bat

  • Myotis grisescens

gray bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bat with long thumbs and claws. The fur is dark gray.
  • Black wing, ears, and legs. The wingspan is approximately 9 to 11 inches. Ears are medium in length.

 

Out of all the bats in the United States, this species is most dependent on caves.

 

Therefore, do not look for these bats in tree cavities, barns, artificial structures, or anywhere else!

Gray Bat Range Map

gray bat range map

 

Gray Bats prefer to forage over water, such as streams, to consume night-flying insects. They typically feed in small groups, as long as there is enough food for everyone. But if food becomes scarce, they want to be alone and become very territorial.

 

Unfortunately, the Gray Bat is on the endangered species list because of its population decline due to human disturbance. Pollution, urbanization, deforestation, and mining are all to blame.

 


#21. Long-eared Myotis

  • Myotis evotis

long eared myotis pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Face and ears are black. The fur on their back ranges from yellowish to dark brown. The wingspan is approximately 9 to 10 inches.
  • Long dark ears, which is how they got their name.

 

This bat is found in woodlands, shrublands, grasslands, and agricultural areas. This species leaves its roosts in rocky regions, dead trees, caverns, and buildings to forage insects in dense vegetation.

Long-eared Myotis Range Map

long eared myotis range map

The Long-eared Myotis is active longer at night than other bats in the United States, hunting closer to the ground as the night gets cooler.

 

Unlike other bats in the United States, the Long-eared Myotis often turn off echolocation when hunting. Instead, their long ears help them HEAR prey the old-fashioned way. Click play below to see an example!

 


#22. Fringed Myotis

  • Myotis thysanodes

fringed myotis pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bat with long ears and a tiny face. The wingspan is approximately 10.4 to 11.8 inches.
  • Light yellowish-brown or dark greenish fur and back and off-white on the underside, brownish-black ears, wings, and legs.

 

In the United States, you’ll find the Fringed Myotis in desert shrublands, sagebrush grasslands, and woodland habitats with pine and oak trees.

Fringed Myotis Range Map

fringed myotis range map

These bats have a diet that consists primarily of beetles.

 

The Fringed Myotis has a fringe of short, wire-like hairs on the membrane between its hind legs, which is how it got its name. It has been thought that these hairs help it catch insects while flying.

 

The Fringed Myotis echolocation is different from other bats. They start by flying in a downward swoop and then begin to search for food.

 

 


#23. Pallid Bat

  • Antrozous pallidus

pallid bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Larger bat with long, super thin, forward-pointing ears. The wingspan is approximately 15 to 16 inches.
  • Tiny face with a pig-like snout.
  • Fur is brown and creamy white by the root on their back, and cream color on the underside.

 

The Pallid Bat is the most unique-looking in the United States!

I just love its unique, pig-like nose! Look for them in habitats that consist of deserts, grasslands, canyons, and mixed forests.

Pallid Bat Range Map

pallid bat range map

 

Pallid Bats eat various foods, including both ground and flying insects, nectar, and scorpions. They like a balanced diet with their food buzzing, sweet, and spicy.

 

This loud bat is known to bare its teeth and buzz when frightened or angered.

 


#24. Spotted Bat

  • Euderma maculatum

spotted bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Fur on the back is black with three distinct white spots. The underbelly is white.
  • Tiny gray face with HUGE pinkish ears. The wingspan is approximately 14 inches.

 

This species has the most oversized ears of any bat in the United States!

 

Spotted Bat ears are unique because their ears roll up around their head when they’re resting. And then, when they become active, the ears fill up with blood and unroll.

Spotted Bat Range Map

spotted bat range map

Some Spotted Bats hibernate in cold weather, which means their heart rate slows down, and their body temperature falls to their surroundings. Other individuals will migrate to warmer weather.

 

Spotted Bats are very territorial and prefer to live in solitude.

 

This bat is one of only a few bats with an echolocation sound that is low enough to be heard by humans!

 


#25. California Myotis

  • Myotis californicus

california myotis pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bat with brown fur and black ears, wings, legs, and feet.
  • Sloping forehead and a short tail that does not extend past the membrane.

 

Look for this bat in the United States in forested habitats in lower elevations. They roost in rock crevices, dead or hollowed trees, under loose bark, and buildings in the summer. In winter, you’ll find them in caves or mines.

California Myotis Range Map

california myotis range map

The females and males roost in separate places during the summer but then reunite during hibernation.

 

The California Myotis flies slower and more erratic as it hunts near the edges of the forest or over water.

 


#26. Canyon Bat

  • Parastrellus Hesperus

canyon bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bat. Fur color can vary from golden brown to reddish-brown.
  • Face, wings, ears, and legs are black. The wingspan is approximately 7 to 9 inches.

 

The Canyon Bat is one of the most common bats in the southwestern United States.

 

This species is mainly found in rocky areas near water, like canyons, cliffs, under loose rocks and caves.

Canyon Bat Range Map

canyon bat range map

Since this bat is small, its most common predators are owls. But, unfortunately, these little guys also sometimes have to worry about predation from other larger bat species.

 

Interestingly, the Canyon Bat has been known to occupy rodent burrows in the ground if their habitat doesn’t provide them with sufficient shelter.

 


#27. Cave Myotis

  • Myotis velifer

cave myotis pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Medium-sized bat with brown or grayish black fur on its back and a lighter color on its underside.
  • Ears are pointed and short, eyes are tiny, and wingspan is approximately 11 to 12.5 inches.

 

You’d think the Cave Bat just lives in caves, but they also roost in mines, rock crevices, barns, under bridges, and inside empty buildings.

 

In the summer, these bats roost in groups of up to 5,000 individuals!

Cave Bat Range Map

cave myotis range map

 

Most bats have a well-developed homing ability, allowing them to leave a familiar place and find their way back. Unfortunately, the Cave Myotis doesn’t have this helpful adaptation. Instead, they use their sense of smell and vision to aid in finding their way around.

 


#28. Western Mastiff Bat

  • Eumops perotis

western mastiff bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Fur is dark grayish brown or brown with white roots that are usually visible. The tail is very long and extends way past their wings. The wingspan is approximately 20 to 23 inches.
  • Large ears that project over the eyes, which is how they got their name.
  • Also known as the Western Bonneted Bat, Greater Mastiff Bat, or the Greater Bonneted Bat.

 

The Western Mastiff Bat is the largest bat species in the United States.

 

But their wings are narrow, which makes them fast but not good at maneuvering while in flight.

Western Mastiff Bat Range Map

western mastiff bat range map

Look for these bats in deserts, canyons, scrublands, and urban areas. These bats will roost in high places such as crevices on cliffs, which allows them to drop and launch into flight.

 

Unfortunately, they’re known to leave urine stains on cliff faces. So, if you are in that area and see colors on the cliff, now you know what it is.

 

Unlike other bats, Western Mastiff Bats don’t migrate nor go through any sort of hibernation.

 


#29. Allen’s Big-eared Bat

  • Idionycteris phyllotis

allen's big eared bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Large ears!
  • Fur is a blackish and yellowish-gray color on tips. The wingspan is approximately 12 to 14 inches.
  • Black patch on each shoulder and a patch of hair on the back of their ears.

 

These bats live in mountainous regions in southwestern the United States, located in pine and oak forests. They can be found at elevations up to 10,000 feet.

Allen’s Big-eared Bat Range Map

allen's big eared bat range map

 

Unlike most bats, Allen’s Big-eared Bat can grab insects on surfaces instead of catching them mid-air. Their long ears help them hear the insects, and their wings allow them to hover and maneuver around more. They also have a thin jaw that makes it easier to scoop up prey.

 

Their guano (waste) is used as a source of fertilizer because organisms found in it are used for waste detoxifying.

 

The Allen’s Big-eared Bat is the only bat in the United States to emit constant echolocation calls.

 


#30. Pocketed Free-tailed Bat

  • Nyctinomops femorosaccus

pocketed free tailed bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Medium-sized bat with gray fur. Ears join at the middle of the forehead,
  • Tail is long and sticks way out. The wingspan is approximately 12 inches.
  • Skinfold stretches from the inner side of their femur to the middle of the tibia, which produces a pocket. This feature is how the Pocket Free-tailed Bats got their name.

The Pocketed Free-tailed Bat lives in the deserts of the United States.

 

Look for Pocketed Free-tailed Bats roosting in large colonies inside caves, tunnels, mines, and rock crevices.

Pocketed Free-tailed Bat Range Map

pocketed free tailed bat range map

Like many other bats in the United States, they use echolocation to find their prey, and they catch them in mid-flight.

Pocketed Free-tailed Bats ONLY eat insects. Therefore, moths, crickets, stinkbugs, froghoppers, and lacewings are typically on the menu each evening.

 


#31. California Leaf-nosed Bat

  • Macrotus californicus

california leaf nosed bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The fur is grayish. Ears are huge and rounded. The wingspan is approximately 13 inches.
  • The distinguishing feature is the nose, which looks like a leaf.

 

California Leaf-nosed Bats are easy to identify in the United States.

 

Just look for their unique leaf-shaped nose and enormous ears. đŸ™‚

California Leaf-nosed Bat Range Map

california leaf nosed bat range map

 

Look for this species in desert scrublands, where they forage for insects, caterpillars, and cacti fruit.

 

This bat is known for its short, broad wings, which give them excellent maneuverability while flying.

 

California Leaf-nosed Bats roost in large caves and mines. Interestingly, they have always been into “social distancing” because individuals avoid touching each other as they roost, unique among bats.

 


#32. Arizona Myotis

  • Myotis occultus

arizona myotis pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Smaller bats. Fur is light brown, orangish-brown, dark brown, or golden brown.
  • Ears, wings, and feet can be either black, dark brown, or light brown. The wingspan is approximately 8 to 10 inches.

 

The Arizona Myotis live in deserts or forests in the southwestern United States.

 

Arizona Myotis Range Map

arizona myotis range map

 

During the summer, they like to roost in different artificial structures like buildings or under bridges. During colder months, they stay in caves and abandoned buildings.

 

Like most bats, the Arizona Myotis has excellent eyesight to recognize landmarks during the daytime when flying.

 

Sadly, this species has suffered a decline in its population due to humans using insecticides. In addition, these insecticides cause a depletion of fat reserves that they have saved up for winter.

 


#33. Mexican Long-tongued bat

  • Choeronycteris Mexican

mexican long tongued bat pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Fur is longer than most other bats and can be gray to brownish and lighter on shoulders.
  • Ears are the same color as the body, and they vary in size. The tail is short. The wingspan is approximately 14 inches.
  • Leaf-shaped nose at the end of a long snout. The tongue is thin and long that extends to eat nectar.

 

Because of its long snout, the Mexican Long-tongued Bat looks incredibly unique! In addition, they don’t eat insects like most other bats in the United States. Instead, they feed on nectar, pollen from agaves, and fruits.

 

As their name suggests, these bats have an incredibly long tongue about a third the length of their body. Mexican Long-tongued Bats use this tongue to reach nectar deep inside flowers. Interestingly, some even visit hummingbird feeders as well to sip on sugar water.

 

Mexican Long-tongued Bat Range Map

mexican long tongued bat range map

 

You can find these bats roosting inside caves or abandoned buildings. They do not cluster together and tend to keep 2 to 5 cm apart.

 

Interestingly, they hang by a single foot, which allows them to rotate while roosting or perching.

 


#34. Southwestern Myotis

  • Myotis auriculus

southwestern myotis pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Larger bat with soft brown fur. Ears are brown and large.
  • Wingspan is approximately 9 to 11 inches.
  • Also known as the Southwestern Bat.

 

The Southwestern Myotis in the southwestern United States can be found in desert scrub, ponderosa pine forests, and woodlands. However, their habitat can change because these bats migrate.

Southwestern Myotis Range Map

southwestern myotis range map

 

The Southwestern Myotis is always found close to water because of their high protein diet and water loss rates.

 

This bat consumes massive amounts of insects nightly, beneficial to humans and controlling many pest populations. Moths are their favorite food!

 


Do you need additional help identifying bats in the United States?

 

If so, this field guide should be able to help you.

 


Which of these bats have you seen before in the United States?

 

Leave a comment below!

 

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