Is it more common for bats to live in wild or urban areas?

It is no coincidence that people are starting to see an increasing number of bats in the urban environment. In the last few decades, more and more bat populations have begun to forgo their wild origins and replace it with a more comfortable lifestyle living in areas populated by humans. This is not to say urban areas do not hold some problems for bats, but these are generally overcome by the sheer attractiveness of a comfortable attic for roosting in, and an abundance of small rodents. Hence, bats are becoming more and more of a problem for homeowners. Therefore, it is important to know the favored habitats of bats, in order to plan accordingly for their arrival. After all, if large numbers have not reached your city yet, they likely will soon.

Rural areas

Part of the reason bats are so widespread is that they are incredibly versatile and willing to adapt. This is why they have gained such a stronghold in urban areas whilst other species have failed. Like most flying creatures, seeing as though they have the ability, bats favor raised areas in order to raise their young. In rural areas, this often simply means a tree. However, bats are also notoriously social animals, and so try and roost in large groups if at all possible. As a result, huge cavernous areas such as caves are prime territory for bats to roost. Some species of bats survive by pollinating certain species of cacti in the desert. 

bat on attic insulation

Incidentally, they also roost in these plants. Rapid deforestation has meant that rural bat numbers are not what they used to be, and this has probably contributed to the mass migration of many bats to urban areas. Much like human trends, life is just a lot harder for bats in wild areas, with their habitat diminishing, forcing them to compete with other bats. Nevertheless, in most forests, there will still be sizeable bat populations, which can often be mistaken for birds to the naked eye at dusk or dawn.

Urban areas

If you think about it, suburban houses and skyscrapers are quite similar to the trees many bats call home. Cities are not called urban jungles for nothing. Therefore, bats have found it relatively easy to integrate into their new city environment. They have still not lost their innate instinct to roost in high places, making attics highly attractive. Naturally, attics can only be accessed if they have an open entrance to them. This is quite uncommon, 

bats in cave

so if one bat is to find a suitable attic to live in, more bats are likely to swiftly follow. Urban bat populations show no signs of diminishing either. The caves in which they used to roost were often damp and cold, meaning they were likely to catch diseases and die earlier. Now that bats are living in dry, warm attics, they are becoming more resistant to disease, are stronger, and are living longer.

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