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Bats are some of the most commonly found mammals in the world. In fact, there are over a thousand different species of bats. Making these winged mammals one of the largest groups of mammals in the whole world, second only to rodents! Of all these bats, there are around forty that can be found throughout the US. Some of these species are quite common. Yet others are endangered or are slowly dying off! Here are some of the bat species you’re most likely to encounter.
As the name implies, big brown bats are larger than most of the other bats you’re likely to encounter. These bats weigh over half an ounce, and they can have wingspans that are sixteen inches long!
Despite their size, there’s no need for alarm. These bats primarily eat insects, and
they’ll frequently prey on small beetles. Like all bats, the big brown bat is nocturnal, so it does its beetle hunting at night. As you can imagine, these bats have a furry brown coat. Unlike many other bats, the big brown bat also tends to have small ears.
The little brown bat is much smaller than its similarly named cousin. It weighs less
than half an ounce, and its wingspan only reaches eight inches. Like most bats, the little brown bat mainly hunts insects. These animals are great hunters. They even eat more than half their weight in insects every night. The little brown bat can be found in the northern states, and they’re quite prevalent in Canada. Yet they can still be found in southern states, albeit in much smaller numbers. Their name is a bit of a misnomer, as they can be brown, red, or golden.
The Mexican free-tailed bat can be found in the western United States. These bats love the warm weather. They even migrate to the south to avoid the harsh winter. These bats are fairly light, weighing around half an ounce. Despite their light weight, however, they have massive wings that span up to fourteen inches! Like the big and little brown bats, the Mexican free-tailed bat loves to hunt insects. It even has a knack for hunting wild moths.
These bats can have a wide variety of colors. Their fur can be brown, reddish, or even grey. Yet their tails are what make these bats special. The tail actually extends past their sinewy wings and hangs in the air. Hence why they’re called free-tailed bats.
As you can imagine, the western red bat is found in the western parts of North America. These solitary animals tend to inhabit areas that are full of foliage. This is likely due to their ability to blend in with the leaves. These bats resemble the Mexican free-tailed bat in their size and length, but their appearance couldn’t be more different. The western red bat is largely considered to be one of the best-looking bat species, owing to their white bushy fur that’s highlighted with reddish- orange patches. Like most other bats, the western red bat loves to hunt for insects. Yet unlike the bats mentioned so far, these bats live in isolation rather than in large groups.
The eastern red bat is quite similar to its western relative. The main difference lies in its habitat. This bat tends to live in the eastern parts of North America. Like the western red bat, this bat lives in trees because it can easily blend into its surroundings. They’re similarly colored to their western counterparts and even have a similar diet.
The tri-colored bat is one of the smallest bats found in the US. It weighs a measly quarter ounce. Its wingspan is also quite short, at a maximum of ten inches. These bats live in the eastern United States, but they can be found as far west as Texas. The tri-colored bat lives in forested areas, where it hunts beetles, moths, and plenty of other insects.
You can identify these bats by their fur coat, which is a mix of brown, yellow, and some darker hues.
While only a handful of bats have been mentioned, they still reveal how diverse bats can be. Bats can be found all throughout the US, and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are big and have dull colors, like the big brown bat. Others are tiny and colorful, like the tri-colored bat.