There are 14 species of Bat that call Ohio home. We will be talking about each species of bats in Ohio below. Keep reading to find out more!
Where Do Bats Live In Ohio?
Bats tend to live in 2 sites. They will live in closed sites in the winter when they hibernate and they will then live in summer roosting sites. Bats are able to enter buildings in a number of ways, this can be through doors, windows, or even the smallest of cracks. The summer season is when humans tend to come into contact with bats the most as this is when bats roost. During the summer, pregnant females will roost in colonies and use human structures like bars as these are warm, safe, dark, and dry.
Babies tend to be born in May and June and a baby bat can start flying within 25 days from birth. It tends to take 2-3 months for baby bats to be weaned from their Mothers.
Which Species of Bats Live In Ohio?
As far as the planet goes, there are over 1,200 species of bats. Bats are the world’s only flying Mammal and they have a very long history on our planet. There are fossil dates that go back over 50 million years. There are 14 species of bats that live in Ohio. Each bat is listed below with an explanation of what type of bat they are and how they live here in this great state.
Big Brown Bat
The Big Brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) is a colonial bat that loves to live in attics, shutters, trees, and bat houses. This species of bat loves to roost in trees. The big brown bat is one of the most common bats that can be found in different Ohio properties. The females tend to set up colonies in the spring months and they prefer to do this in trees. These colonies can vary in size from 50 members to over 500 members. This does tend to depend on local conditions. Males tend to roost in small groups of 5 or under. During the winter months, these species like to hibernate in quiet attic spaces and in hollow walls as well. In the summer months, this species of bat will come out of their roosts about 20 minutes before sunset as they go hunting for insects to eat.
The big brown bat can be identified as they have a 13-inch wing span. They have a reddish-brown coat and they have a very puffy nose.
Little Brown Bat
The Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) are common throughout the state of Ohio and they can also be found all over the continent of North America. The little brown bat is probably the most common species in the state of Ohio. These cute individuals can be observed over lakes and ponds. The reason for this is that lakes and ponds tend to be their favorite place to catch their food. These bats do like to live in large colonies and there can be literally thousands of members in 1 colony. The favorite places for these guys to build colonies are places like cabins and attics. In the winter months, these bats will migrate to the large cave systems of Southern Ohio. The little brown bats can be identified by their 10-inch wingspan and a very nice dark-brown coat.
Eastern Red Bat
The Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis) is a solitary bat that is a very red color and it has a 12-inch wingspan. The Eastern Red Bat is an unusual character as it really cannot be bothered to socialize with other bats!! This bat also has unusual white markings on the shoulders and it can be mistaken as a pine cone if it is in a tree. This species of bat prefers to roost in trees and it is very rare to find this bat in a home of other forms of property. It is for this reason that this species has earned the reputation as North America’s most abundant tree-dwelling bat. If this bat is seen in one’s home, this tends to be a one-off and it does not by any means indicate that there is a colony nearby.
The Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) is very rarely seen during daylight hours. This species of bat prefers to come out in the dead of night when it is nice and dark. This species is also quite solitary and does not really have much time for other bats. The wingspan on this bat is a very impressive 17 inches. This bat is also pretty easy to identify as it has very long hairs that are tipped with white and it also has an orange throat. This bat tends to spend most of its time in trees and when the weather gets cold, it will migrate south to warmer climes.
The Tri-Colored Bats (Perimyotis subflavus) is also known as the Eastern Pipistrelle. This species of bat is very small and is one of the smallest species of bat to be found within the United States. This bat is so small that sometimes it can be mistaken for a cranefly or a moth. This species likes to colonize buildings and tree cavities, away from predators. The colors of this bat can vary from yellow to brown.
Eastern Small-Footed Bat
The Eastern Small-Footed Bat (Myotis leibii) is Ohio’s rarest bat. Only three specimens of this bat have been seen in Ohio in the last 10 years. This rarely-seen species has long fur that is brown in color. Not too much is known about this secretive species. It does have a very slow flight pattern and it has tiny feet.
Silver-Haired Bat (Bats In Ohio)
The Silver-Haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) has quite a long wingspan of 11 inches. The silver-haired bat has black, white, and silver tips. This species of bat likes to roost in trees that are quite old and they also like to roost in trees that have a lot of loose bark. This species will also look to roost in very tall buildings like tower blocks and church steeples. In the winter, the Silver-Haired Bat will head south for the winter.
The Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) is a protected bat at both state and federal levels. It is predicted that there are less than 300,000 of these individuals left on the planet. The Indiana bat has a gray coat and a pink tail membrane. The Indiana Bat does look pretty similar to a Big Brown Bat and the fur of an Indiana Bat extends beyond its toenails. Their favorite place to roost is in dead and hollowed-out trees. They will roost in the summer months and then when the wintertime comes along, they will head south and hibernate in the caves of Southern Ohio.
Evening Bat (Bats In Ohio)
The Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis) is a colonial bat and it has an impressive wingspan of 10 inches. This is a medium-sized bat and it is very easy to confuse it with the Little Brown Bat and the Big Brown Bat. The Evening bat has bronze-brown hair on its back and very light blonde hair on its stomach. The bat’s muzzle is also hairless as well. This species of bat can be found in the middle and southern parts of Ohio.
Northern Long-Eared Bat
The Northern Long-Eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) likes to live on its own or in very small groups at a push. This species of bat has a 10-inch wingspan and a very dark brown coat. This is a medium-sized bat, however, it is a pretty easy one to distinguish as it has very long ears. The Northern Long-Eared bat tends to make forests its home and will capture its food when either flying or on the first floor. This species of bat likes to stay in Ohio all year round and like to live in hollow trees. It is very rare to find this species of bat in buildings.
Gray Myotis Bat (Bats In Ohio)
The Gray Myotis (Myotis grisescens) is a very unusual species of bat. Around 95% of its entire known species hibernate in just 9 specific caves each winter! It is for this reason that State and Federal officials are concerned about their numbers. It is crucial for these bats to have access to both cold and warm caves. In 1976, it was classed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Thankfully, since 1976, there has been evidence of a recovery of numbers. Naturally, seeing this species of bat is extremely rare.
Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat
The Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) is a rarely observed bat that can be found in Ohio, specifically in the Adams County area. This species of bat is very easy to identify as it has very long ears. It also has two large lumps on its nose. The Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat will roost in hollowed-out trees and abandoned buildings. This species of bat prefers to stay in Ohio all year round, however, some individuals do choose to head south for the winter.
Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat
The Townsend’s Big-Eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) is a species of bat that is found throughout the continent of North America. There are two subspecies that are found in the central Appalachian and Ozark regions. These guys are very agile fliers and they like to forage for food after dark and they tend to keep to themselves in daylight hours.
Mexican Free-Tailed Bat
The Mexican Free-Tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) is a species of bat that likes to roost in a large range of habitats. This species is found throughout the entire US, with a large colony in Southern Ohio. However, the largest colonies are found in Texas. This species of bat likes to live in limestone caves and as Ohio has plenty of these, this is a reason why they like to stay in Ohio. They can also be found under bridges and in hollow trees. This is a small species of bat and can reach a size of 9cm in adulthood.
Cindy’s Insider Ohio Tips!
Bats can live for more than 30 years and can fly at speeds of more than 60 mph. More than half the bat species in the US are in severe decline or are endangered – loss of habitat along with a disease called White Nose Syndrome have caused this. You may be surprised to know that bat droppings (called guano) are one of the richest fertilizers.