Bats

Various species

  • 45 species in North America
  • Can be found in many different habitats
  • Majority are insectivorous, helping to control insect populations
  • Decline of bat populations due to natural and human factors

Species Description: Bats

Bats are an important part of forested ecosystems, deserts, and rangelands and contribute to a region’s biodiversity. Bats exist in many different types of habitats like forests, deserts, cities and swamp lands. Their habitats need to include dark, protected places to hide from predators, sleep during and to hibernate in during the winter.

The majority of North American bat species are insectivorous and serve as insect-controllers and pollinators. They typically consume more than 50 percent of their body with each night, consuming moths, flies, mosquitoes, beetles and other insects. The Brown Bat, one of the most common species, can capture 600 mosquitoes in one hour. Nectar-feeding and fruit bats pollinate more than 130 types of plants.

Forty-five species of bats have been found in the United States and seven of them have been listed as threatened or endangered. The decline of bat populations is due to natural factors like flooding, freezing and diseases. Human factors, however, are the main cause of their decline. These factors include eradication, cave commercialization, deforestation, strip mining and improper use of pesticides.

Mississippi State University Publications

Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Mississippi Recreational Gardens: Establishing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat (PDF)
Mississippi State University Extension Service, Natural Resource Enterprises Program

All wildlife requires food, water and shelter to survive. This publication discusses providing those necessities in a backyard environment. Detailed information is given on how to attract birds, hummingbirds, butterflies, bats, snakes, lizards, toads and frogs. Information is also provided on controlling deer, rodents, and other animals that are considered pests. Management tips are given for making your backyard the best habitat possible including an example and how to create a trail.

Other Publications

Improving Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat (PDF)
University of Tennessee Extension

This publication covers the basic needs of backyard wildlife, habitat diversity and structure, edge and vertical structure of habitat, and shows you how to draw up plans for backyard wildlife habitat and how to install it using native plants and supplementing with feeder and nest boxes. Habitat requirements for eastern bluebirds is highlighted.

 

Bats: Ecologically Important Mammals (PDF)
Animal Welfare Institute Endangered Species Handbook

Bats are important  to the environment as pollinators and insect killers. This publication includes a list of North American bat species and identifies their distribution and threat level. A list of other resources on bats is also included.

 

Bats are Pollinators Too (PDF)
Bat Conservation International

This publication discusses some bat species are beneficial to ecosystems worldwide, how they are being threatened and, how you can help.

 

Forest Management and Bats (PDF)
Bat Conservation International

This publication begins with a list of many interesting statistics on bats. It goes into detail on the importance of bats, and bat habitat requirements, including information on roosting, foraging and water needs. Also mentioned are geological resources required by bats, and the effects of man-made roosts. The publication ends by giving information on some specific types of forest bats. A list of resources is included.

 

Beneficial Bats (PDF)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

With a short listing of bat facts and a discussion of bat foods, this publication provides suggestions for attracting bats to your backyard and instructions for building a bat house.

 

Bats Found in Mississippi (PDF)
Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

A listing of the bats found in Mississippi.