Have no fear of the only mammal capable of sustained flights. Bats may go bump in the night, but they’re valuable residents of Georgia.

Did you know?

  • Georgia is home to 16 species of bats some of which are threatened or endangered
  • Bats belong to the order Chiroptera which means “hand wing”
  • Bat pups can weigh up to one-third of their mother’s body weight at birth
  • There are three species of vampire bats, but none of them live in the United States
  • It’s a myth that bats are blind! They have eyes but use echolocation to navigate in the dark
  • Some species of bats can live 30 or more years!
  • Different bats have different purposes – some are pollinators, some disperse seeds, and some serve only as exterminators

 

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Photo credit: Georgia DNR
  1. Bats provide excellent pest control.

A single bat can eat hundreds of mosquitos in one hour! They also eat large numbers of moths and beetles that cause agricultural damage.

 

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Southeastern myotis being swabbed for white-nose syndrome. Photo credit: Georgia DNR
  1. White-nose syndrome is a bats worst nightmare.

White-nose syndrome is a fungus that has killed more than 6 million bats across the United States. It was first found in Georgia in 2013. The fungus grows on the bats snouts and wings while they’re hibernating in caves and causes them to move around more often.  Because bats have a quick metabolism and don’t feed over winter, the extra movement burns through their fat reserves quicker and can cause them to leave their roosts earlier than they should.

 

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Rafinesque’s big-eared bats roosting in hollow trees. Photo credit: Matt Clement
  1. Not all bats roost in caves.

It’s a myth that bats are only founds in caves. Some species can be found roosting on trees under bark, leaves, or in hollows. They’ll also use man-made structures like bridges and attic spaces.

 

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Bats in a bat house. Photo credit: Georgia DNR
  1. You can create bat habitat in your own backyard!

Putting up a bat house in your backyard is a simple way to add bat habitat. Bats can be picky about their houses, so you have to be patient while waiting for your new neighbors to move in. You can find information on how to build a bat house, where to buy them, and where you should install them here: http://georgiawildlife.com/BatHouses