Bats of Indiana
Thirteen different species of bats have been found in the state of
Indiana over the past century, with the latest found in 2009. All of
them eat insects (hundreds per hour!) and all use echolocation to find
flies, moths, beetles, mosquitos and other juicy bugs. It's
important to learn more about them and the role they play in the
conservation of their Midwestern habitat.
Common Bats Include:
The Big Brown is the second largest bat in Indiana and is found both in cities and rural area, but rarely in forests.
Comfortable around human settings, these bats can roost in buildings,
bridges, farm silos and rocky areas.
A mainly summer time Hoosier resident, these bats live in forests where they
can camouflage themselves among the leaves of oaks, elms, sycamores and box
elders. They like to hunt near a light source where they try to catch
a new bug every 30 seconds!
Little Brown Bats
These social bats roost together in three different types of locations.
During the day, they rest in buildings or other suitable spots, but at
night, they move to different locations where they can hang out
without signaling potential predators of their roost. Mother bats use
nursery roosts to produce and care for their pups, which they tell apart
through call and color. Little brown bats eat half their body weight
in insects every night!
This bat is so diminutive in size that it is sometime confused for a large
moth in flight. The smallest bat in Indiana, it lives in the wooded
areas of southern Indiana near water roosting among dead leaves in trees.
Less Common Bats
Solitary and a naturally slow flyer, this bat migrates through Indiana in
the spring and fall. It loves woody areas near water where it roosts
behind bark, in abandoned bird nests, or inside the cracks and hollows of a
Widespread but rare, this is the largest bat found in Indiana. The
unusual name comes from its coloration, which consists of brownish gray fur
flecked with white that together resemble "hoar frost." They will
roost in both evergreen and deciduous trees found near clearings, forests
and urban areas.
Northern Long-Eared Bat
Recognized by its long rounded ears and long tail, this year-round resident
likes to live in forests, but colonies can be found in buildings or bat
houses. Hibernation is solitary and takes place in caves and mines where
they might be found in the hollow of broken stalactites.
Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat
Eastern Small-footed Myotis
Rare anywhere in the U.S., this bat was first discovered in Indiana in
spring 2009 when three were found in Wyandotte Cave in Crawford County on
three different dates.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
University of Michigan Animal Diversity
Photo of Little Brown Bat by Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University