Alabama Bats

47 species of bats live in the United States. 16 species live in Alabama. The following information provides a brief description and link to additional information about each species.

Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus). Found statewide; although common throughout its distribution, is rare in Alabama with no breeding colonies known. Elsewhere in distribution, groups of several thousand females form maternity colonies in buildings. Mating occurs before hibernation, but copulating pairs may be found in hibernacula throughout winter. In spring, a single young is born. Lifespans of greater than 30 years documented in wild. Diet includes a variety of insects, including flies, moths, and small beetles. HIGH CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Southeastern Myotis (Myotis austroriparius). Occurs in southern half and western half of Alabama, but may be most common in southern tier of counties. Active year-round, it occupies caves, mines, and buildings, but may go into torpor for a few days when daily temperatures approach freezing. Only one maternity colony known in Alabama. Twins are born in spring and become volant in five to six weeks. HIGH CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Gray Myotis
(Myotis grisescens). Found statewide, except for southwestern quarter. Occupies deep caves near permanent water in winter and summer. Breeds in autumn before hibernation, but mating probably occurs in winter. One young born in June becomes volant in 20-25 days. Forages primarily over water, along streams, and over lakes and ponds. Consumes a variety of small insects, including moths and mayflies. Lifespan may exceed 15 years. Listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. HIGHEST CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Northern Long-eared Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). Poorly known. Found statewide, except southwestern region. Forested ridges appear favored over riparian woodlands. Hibernacula include caves and mines, but may use crevices in walls or ceilings. Summer roosts include tree holes, birdhouses, or behind loose bark or shutters of buildings. One young born in late spring or early summer weaned about a month after birth. HIGH CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Small-footed Myotis
(Myotis leibii). Probably occurs in northeastern Alabama because is known from adjacent areas of Tennessee and Georgia. Distribution maps often depict it occurring in Alabama, but no specimens known from state. MODERATE CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Indiana Myotis (Myotis sodalis). Rare. Occurs in northern and eastern half of Alabama, but populations continue to decline distribution wide.  Hibernates in caves, mostly in tight clusters. In summer, females form small maternity colonies in tree hollows and behind loose bark. A single offspring born in June or early July is weaned in 25-35 days. Diet includes small, soft-bodied insects, such as moths, flies, and beetles. Listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. HIGHEST CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Silver-haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans). Poorly known. Probably found statewide, except for southern tier of counties. Little known of distribution and habits in Alabama. Probably present as a winter resident, or in spring and autumn migration, but apparently not in summer. In winter, hibernates in a variety of shelters, including buildings, caves, mines, crevices, and hollow trees. Not known to breed in Alabama. MODERATE CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Tri-colored bat, formerly called the Eastern Pipistrelle. (Perimyotis subflavus). Found statewide and common. Occupies hollow trees, tree foliage, caves, mines, rock crevices, and buildings. Hibernates in winter, often with beads of water forming on fur from humid surroundings. In late May through early July, an average of two young are born. Diet includes a variety of insects, including leafhoppers, beetles, and flies. Lowest Conservation Concern. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus). Found statewide and common. Roosts typically in human-made structures, but also in caves, mines, hollow trees, and crevices, or behind loose bark. Commonly inhabits bat houses, attics, and louvered attic vents. Copulates in autumn and winter, ovulation occurs in spring, and two young are born in late spring. Diet consists primarily of beetles, but flies, moths, bugs, and cicadellids also consumed. Lowest Conservation Concern. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis). Found statewide and common. Roosts in a variety of trees, but frequently uses clumps of Spanish moss. Often emerges early, while sun is in the western sky. Breeding may take place during southward migration in autumn, and copulation in flight has been observed. An average of four young are born in spring. Lowest Conservation concern. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Seminole Bat (Lasiurus seminolus). Found statewide. Common in mixed coniferous and deciduous woodlands; often associated with Spanish moss. Parturition occurs late-May and early June, with two to four young born. Mostly forages at treetop level in forests, although also flies over open water, forest clearings, and along forest edges. Diet consists of flies, beetles, dragonflies, and hymenopterans. Lowest Conservation concern. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus). Poorly known. Found statewide, but are few records of this large (avg. 25 g [1 oz.]) species in Alabama. Roosts in trees or shrubs, usually three to five meters (9-15 feet) above ground. Females bear two young in late spring. Migratory and may not breed in state, but some females may raise young here. MODERATE CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Northern Yellow Bat (Lasiurus intermedius). Rare and poorly known. Only a few records from the southern tier of counties. This relatively large (14-31 g [0.5-1.1 oz.]) bat inhabits coniferous and deciduous woodlands near permanent water. Often roosts in clumps of Spanish moss, but also in trees. Breeds in autumn and winter; two to four young born in spring. Diet consists of flies, bugs, dragonflies, beetles, and hymenopterans. HIGH CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis). Found statewide, but may be most common in southern half. Primary habitat is deciduous forest where it roosts in hollow trees, under loose bark, and in human-made structures, such as outbuildings, churches, belfries, and attics. One to three young (usually two) born in early June. Diet consists of a variety of insects, including moths, beetles, flies, bugs, and flying ants. Lowest Conservation Concern. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii). Poorly known. Found statewide, but among least-known bats in region. In summer, roost sites may be behind loose bark, in caves, crevices, and hollow trees, and in unoccupied buildings, abandoned mines and wells, and other human-made structures. In winter, may hibernate briefly in open and well-lighted hibernacula. Mating occurs in autumn and winter; one young born in late spring. Diet primarily moths.  HIGHEST CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Free-tailed Bats – Family Molossidae

Brazilian Free-tailed Bat
(Tadarida brasiliensis). Poorly known. Possibly found statewide, but most remaining populations are in southern half. Occurs only in human-made structures. Essentially nonmigratory and does not hibernate, but summer and winter roosts may be in different localities. Breeds in March, gestation is 11-12 weeks, and one young born in June. Diet primarily moths. HIGH CONSERVATION CONCERN. See Also: Animal Diversity Web and BCI’s species profile

Information from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

4 Responses to Alabama Bats

  1. Diane says:

    What color should you make a bat house?

    • Diane, It depends on the state or region you are in. Up north folks tend to go with dark colors to help absorb more of the sun, whereas in the south or southwest lighter colors or just plain wood can be good to help reflect some of the heat. Hope that helps.

  2. Beverly J. Myers says:

    I am almost 99% sure a Brazilian Free-tailed Bat was flying around my apartment. At 3:30 am on two mornings, the bat flying over head woke me up. The first time this happened, fear got the best of me because the wingspan of the bat flying overhead made the bat look huge.

    Once all the lights were turned-on, the bat disappeared. After reading-up on bats, I was able to locate where the bat was hiding on the second day, hanging from a rod behind a lace curtain in my bedroom.

    The maintenance man captured the bat and released the bat to the outside. He also found and closed a crack at the top of two windows where the bat most likely entered my apartment.

    Question: How concerned should I be about rabies?

    The maintenance man let the bat fly free outside of the building.

  3. Beverly, while folks tend to worry about rabies, it is important to remember for transmission to occur it takes contact with the bat. Though many folks were taught in their youth that all bats have rabies, in fact current research shows that less than 1/2 of 1% is more common. Assuming you woke up with the bat flying around in a healthy manner in the house and you didn’t have any contact with it, the worry or risk should be unnecessary. While rabies is a serious disease, if folks take simple precautions including wearing gloves or placing a barrier between them and the bat they are needing to move, the risk is near zero. It sounds like the maintenance man found the entry point in your windows and you shouldn’t have further worry. You can always follow up with your health provider or dept. of health to get more local feedback or to help put your mind at ease.

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