The Mexican Free-Tail Bat
This species of bat can be found from as far south as Argentina to the North American states of Oregon, Nebraska, and Ohio. However, they tend to spend their winters in central and south America and migrate further north during the spring. The largest population of Mexican free-tail bats are to be found in Central Texas and Mexico, in general, they prefer to live in temperate to semi-arid climates.
They also prefer to live near a body of water like a stream, river, or lake because the water attracts insects, which makes hunting easier. Their diet consists mostly of moths, in fact, the population of many moth species, viewed as agricultural pests, are kept at manageable sizes thanks to these bats. In addition to moths, they also eat ants, mosquitoes, dragonflies, and beetles.
You’d find Mexican free-tail bats roosting in tunnels, caves, dams, under bridges, in buildings (especially attics, and in vegetation. Some colonies return to the same roosting sites for generations. While most people might be unaware of the presence of these bats in their area, the colonies are in fact huge and a single colony could number in the millions.
They normally begin their migration south in February and by early spring female bats begin to form large maternity colonies. The mother bats give birth in June, to one pup. At this point, male bats separate to form smaller colonies. It is estimated that this species of bat roosts in masses of up to 500 babies per square foot.
Mexican free-tailed bats are also called guano bats because of the enormous amounts of droppings that they produce. A little known fact about these bats is that in the past their guano was viewed as an important resource, mined from caves to be used as fertilizer and to produce sodium nitrate for gunpowder.
The Big Brown Bat
The Big Brown Bat is happy in practically every habitat America has to offer, but they often prefer suburban areas used for agriculture. They can be found as far north as northern Canada, throughout the entire United States, and as far south as the most southern tip of Mexico. They can migrate hundreds of miles, but southern populations are likely to stay where they are. They like to roost in buildings, bridges, and barns as well as in the cavities of trees.
Like the Mexican Free-Tail Bat, female Big Brown Bats form separate colonies to rear young. The size of these colonies can vary but are usually between 20 to 300 bats. They mate during the fall and winter but the female does not become pregnant until the spring, and in late May or early June one or two pups are born.
Their diet mainly consists of small bugs but they also feed on a wide variety of night-flying insects. This includes crop pests like stink bugs, moths, and leafhoppers.
Big Brown Bats are more widespread because they can withstand conditions that other bats can’t.
The Little Brown Bat
The Little Brown Bat is normally found living around swamplands. They can be found as far north as Alaska but are more common in the continental USA, with the largest recorded colony of Little Brown Bats in the United States being found in New Hampshire. They are less common in Texas, Florida, and Mexico but still can be house roosting in homes and commercial buildings.
The Little Brown Bat is the species of bat that people are most familiar with. There are more of them in the United States and Canada than any other species combined. Little Brown Bats that live in colder regions like Alaska will hibernate during the winter. As hibernation can last for up to six months a year, they aren’t always seen, preventing a reliable assessment of their numbers. They actually live in colonies numbering in the hundreds of thousands. When roosting in homes their colony size can grow to the available living space for them before they need to find other areas to live. This normally results in bats entering into the living space in search of a new roosting area.
Their diet consists mostly of wasps and moths and they can actually consume up to half of their body weight each night.
Again, mating season is in the fall but the female becomes pregnant in the spring. At that time they form nursery colonies that could have anywhere from a few dozen to thousands of bats in them. These nursery colonies are normally formed in buildings.
Why should you keep your home bat free?
While all of these species of bats are of great value to our ecosystem and help manage the populations of crop pests for us, they certainly don’t belong in our homes.
Take the Mexican Free-Tail Bat, renowned for its large colonies and abundance of guano droppings. Hosting them and their guano in our homes could cause physical damage to the building as well as causing serious health problems. In addition, bat urine is acidic which can also damage buildings, cause staining, and an unpleasant odor in your home. Let’s not forget that bats can also introduce bat bugs into your home leading to an infestation.
Not only does all of this present an immediate issue for your family’s health and the structure of your property, but it can also devalue your property making it harder for you to sell or rent in the future.
Bottom line, if you have a bat colony, the best thing you can do is bring in professionals to safely and humanely exclude the bats and then safely clean up all the guano and check your air quality. Our qualified team can even walk you through the steps of how to successfully turn in an insurance claim if your home has structural damage.
Give us a call at 877 264-2287 if you need help.
Your Local Bat Removal Expert,