Some people think that bats in Kentucky are all the same, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Different bats live throughout the state and have other preferences regarding their environment, social structure, and food choices.
By knowing which species of bats are found in your area, you can keep yourself and your family safe. Let’s take a look at 13 types of bats in Kentucky!
1. Big Brown Bat
Bats are essential for the ecosystem because they eat insects. Big Brown Bats can be up to 12 inches long and weigh about half a pound.
Big Brown Bat populations are lower in winter, as they hibernate to avoid going into torpor and slowing their metabolism.
The typical mating season is from March to September, with one yearly offspring. With a wingspan of 3-5 feet, they have an appetite for roughly 50% percent of the world’s insect population each night! Many types of bats in Kentucky make them the perfect inhabitant of your home.
2. Hoary Bat
Hoary bats are types of bats in Kentucky. They have broad, dark brown wings with lighter-colored fur on their chest and stomachs.
Hoary bats are relatively small, with an average weight range between 4-8 ounces and an average length of 4-5 inches.
The origin of their name is debated: some believe it’s from the word hoar, meaning white frost or grey hair. In contrast, others think it comes from Latin, harius meaning heather colored, because they live where that plant grows.
3. Silver-haired Bat
Silver-haired bats are tree bats distinguished by their snowy, silver fur and black wings. They are a smaller species than some of the other types of bats in Kentucky.
They are found predominantly in wooded or forested areas in parts of the state with many foliage and trees.
They’re nocturnal and feed primarily on moths, flies, mayflies, beetles, mosquitoes, and true bugs. Their overall slender shape can identify them with a long tail that tapers to an even thinner tip.
When seen during daylight hours, they usually perch near the top of a tree branch, where they spend their day.
They fly much slower than many of the other types of bats in Kentucky. Their roosting sites are typically very close to water sources. They often return from foraging excursions at dusk and dawn when there is enough light to find food.
4. Little Brown Bat
The brown bat’s size ranges from 2-5 inches long, not including its wings. Their color ranges from light to dark Brown. They’re nocturnal and like habitats with a humid climate.
It feeds primarily on insects but has been known to feed on reptiles and even bats in extreme cases of hunger. Brown bats don’t migrate and instead hibernate in caves during winter seasons.
The most common places where these bats live are Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Indiana. They’re also types of bats in Kentucky. The Mexican Free-Tailed Bat is also an insectivore found throughout North America and Mexico.
Then there is the Brazilian free-tailed bat which lives primarily in Central America, South America, and Mexico. Finally, there is the Eastern Pipistrelle, one of the smaller species of bats at 3 1/2 inches in length.
5. Eastern Red Bat
The eastern red bat is one of the most common types of bats in Kentucky. This species usually eats large numbers of insects, preferring beetles and moths over other types of prey.
These bats are solitary animals but will congregate in huge numbers during migration or when insect populations are high.
They have been found to eat about 1,000 insects per night. These bats occasionally roost together for safety, but this can happen without you noticing that there’s more than one individual nearby.
You might hear a high-pitched squeak while resting, as they use these sounds to talk. Like many types of bats, Eastern Red bats don’t hibernate and spend their winters near cave entrances where it’s warmer than outside.
6. Tricolored Bat
Tricolored bats are one of the most prominent types of bats in Kentucky. They hibernate near large bodies of water during the winter, which makes them vulnerable to tree trimming and drought. Their population has been steadily declining as a result.
Other than roosting near a river or lake, they are typically found in wooded areas near homes, ponds, farms, and swamps.
This way, they can detect insects by using echolocation to find them. You can usually spot them resting under leaves or trees with wings folded across their backs.
It’s also common for them to hunt for food in the early morning. They have long hairs on the back of their head that help keeps them warm while flying.
The tricolored bat is brown on its back with light grey fur underneath its belly. Also, its flight membranes are black and yellow-brown striped.
7. Northern Long-eared Bat
The Northern Long-eared bat typically weighs about 18 ounces. It has a long snout, large ears, and no teeth. They usually live in caves, abandoned mines, rock crevices, and attics of buildings or barns.
The Northern Long-eared bat is solitary in the winter but gregarious when the temperature rises. They migrate north to maternity roosts for their young to be born.
This species has been seen living at elevations up to 15,000 feet high in Canada. They fly higher than any other type of bat found in Kentucky and North America.
This bat ranges from Nova Scotia in Canada down to Texas. The breeding season lasts from May through August, with females bearing one baby yearly and only every other year. A single female can produce six liters per night, so she must feed daily during this period!
8. Evening Bat
These bats only come out at night. Their habitat ranges from the United States to parts of Central and South America.
There is also evidence that some have migrated as far as Kenya, but that isn’t confirmed. However, they’re types of bats in Kentucky.
Although they are widespread, they have been largely unstudied because they come out exclusively at night. It’s also a more miniature bat with a wingspan about 10-12 inches wide, making it reasonably easy to identify.
These creatures echolocate when hunting by sending out high-frequency sound waves while listening for what bounces off potential prey.
9. Eastern Small-footed Bat
It is common to confuse the eastern small-footed bat with the big brown bat due to their close resemblance. This bat has a tail that is longer and narrower.
And the fur on its body is slightly paler and browner. These bats are most commonly seen in New England, Appalachia, Europe, Mexico, and South America.
These bats feed on insects such as flies, beetles, caterpillars, ants, or spiders. They consume about 600 insects each night!
While these are not the only type of insectivorous bat species, these types of bats in Kentucky are insectivorous. We think this would be interesting for you because these little guys don’t come out until it is dark out.
10. Indiana Bat
The Indiana bat is a type found in Kentucky and is sometimes called the Gray Bat. It is a small bat that spends most of its life in trees and shrubs.
They typically weigh less than half an ounce. It’s common to see them hanging by their feet as they sleep or eating insects accumulated on branches or leaves.
Indiana bats are found throughout the eastern U.S. and parts of Canada and Mexico, with scattered populations throughout Central America.
They are a monogamous species; they typically mate for life with only one partner at a time. That partner must also be an Indiana bat because hybrids have been shown to cause reduced fertility in later generations.
11. Townsend’s Big-eared Bat
Townsend’s big-eared are types of bats in Kentucky. It is a small animal, measuring approximately 3-4 inches long, with a wingspan of around 8 inches. It has an elongated head, large ears, and no tail.
Townsend’s big-eared bat feeds on insects in flight, catching them in the fine hairs on its body or using echolocation.
They can live as long as five years in the wild, but their lifespan extends to 15 years in captivity. They give birth to only one offspring each year, making it imperative that these species be conserved!
12. Southeastern Myotis
The southeastern myotis bat has dark gray-brown fur with pale, pinkish-white hair on the belly and chest. Adults have a body length of 2.7 to 3 inches and weigh less than one ounce.
They are active throughout the year but occasionally cluster in caves during winter hibernation. Their echolocation call is a squeak-like series of notes that build to a crescendo.
The southeastern myotis may roost communally in buildings near springtime mating sites like chimneys or bridges, particularly on rainy nights. Females give birth to a single pup each year between May and July but may have twins in hot weather.
13. Gray Bat
The Gray Bats (Myotis grisescens) are types of bats in Kentucky. Unlike other Myotis species, they prefer to roost in trees or foliage and are often found near waterways or powerline crossings. They feed primarily on insects, especially flies and moths.
The Gray Bat has gray-brown fur that is long and soft. The ear is proportionally more prominent than most other bats, allowing excellent hearing when hunting prey on the wing. Females usually have one pup each year between April-June with a gestation period of 52 days.
Once born, the young stay with their mother for about three weeks before starting to fly and care for themselves.
Females typically have one pup each year between April-June with a gestation period of 52 days. These bats live up to 16 years in captivity while only living five years in the wild.
No species are more frequently reported than others. The number one thing you want to be mindful of is the diseases these little creatures may carry. They could have rabies, histoplasmosis (a lung infection), and countless other illnesses.
This blog has compiled all 13 types of bats in Kentucky, from fruit-eating to insect-eating and small mammals. Hopefully, this blog was educational for you.