Did you know that there are 13 different native species of Florida bats? And no, vampire bats are not on that list. Bats are actually mammals. In fast they are the only mammals that specifically fly, rather than just glide. Read on for more information about these fascinating creatures that have been known to try to make a home for themselves in your attic.

Types Of Florida Bats

While there are over 1,300 species of bats worldwide, 13 of them are native to Florida. A few additional species have also been found in the state, but they were brought here rather than being native. Furthermore, some of these species are migratory, meaning they are only here part of the year. Common species include:

  • Evening Bat
  • Eastern Red Bat
  • Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat
  • Seminole Bat
  • Southeastern Myotis
  • Northern Yellow Bat

Some less common species are:

  • Gray Bat
  • Hoary Bat
  • Tricolored Bat
  • Florida Bonneted Bat
  • Big Brown Bat
  • Velvety Free-Tailed Bat
  • Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat

Diet

While bats might not be the most welcomed critter in the state, there is one very useful side-effect of having bats around – they eat insects. That’s right, every one of these species of bat are insectivores, so their favorite things to eat include moths, flies, wasps, beetles, ants, and mosquitoes. Contrary to popular lore, bats are not blind, though they do use echolocation to help spot their prey.

Baby Bats

Newborn bats are called pups, and at birth, they can weigh up to 25% of their mother’s total body weight! Bats most often give birth to one pup at a time, though sometimes they can have two. Mother bats nurse their pups for several months, so to keep their milk supply and energy up they have to eat twice their normal amount of insects per day, or roughly twice their body weight.

Guano

If you have seen Ace Ventura, then you know what guano is. It is bat poop, and it is surprisingly useful. Guano contains high amounts of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium, so it makes an excellent fertilizer. Bat guano is actually harvested for commercial agricultural purposes.

Nesting

Some species of bat prefer to nest alone while other species enjoy being part of a larger colony. Most often we think of colonies of bats living in caves, and that does happen, though caves are not prevalent in Florida. So bats in this state have to take shelter in manmade structures like under bridges and in buildings. While small groups and individuals can take shelter in trees, this is less possible for the large colonies.

One thing you can do to keep bats out of your attic or office building is to build a bat house for them to roost in instead. Many species of bats enjoy these bat houses, and there are several different designs and build plans available online for you to follow. Premade bat houses are also available, but you should check to make sure they are suitable for the types of bats that are in your area.