There are many types of bats in Mississippi. Over 40 species of bats call Mississippi their home, ranging from the Gray Bat to the Big Brown Bat.
While spotting some of these bats may be difficult due to their nocturnal habits, others can be found during the day or dusk.
Knowing which types of bats are native to Mississippi can help you identify them when you come across them.
This blog post will discuss Mississippi’s different types of bats and how to spot them.
1. Big Brown Bat
One of the most common types of bats in Mississippi is the Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus). These bats are found throughout the state and in many other parts of the United States. The Big Brown Bat has reddish-brown fur and a wingspan of up to 13 inches.
They typically feed on insects such as moths, flies, beetles, and mosquitoes, but they may also eat fruits, pollen, or nectar. They usually roost in buildings, caves, and tree hollows. During the day, they may be seen flying around or hanging from branches or other structures.
2. Hoary Bat
The Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) is one of Mississippi’s largest types of bats. This Bat has a black to a dark brown fur coat, and the tips of its wings are covered with white fur, which gives it its name – ‘hoary’ means ‘greyish white.’ The wingspan of this Bat can reach up to 15 inches, and it weighs between 0.6 and 1.1 ounces.
These types of bats in Mississippi prefer forested areas with high tree cover, but they can also be found near farms, rivers, and streams. It usually roosts alone or in small groups in the foliage of trees and sometimes uses manufactured structures like houses or barns.
The Hoary Bat is an insectivore, so its diet consists mainly of moths and other flying insects. It is active at night when it hunts for its prey and uses echolocation to find them in the dark.
3. Silver-haired Bat
The Silver-haired Bat is one of Mississippi’s most common types of bats. These small mammals have a wingspan of 8-10 inches and are covered with a black to dark brown fur coat. These types of bats in Mississippi have a distinct silver sheen on their fur, which gives them their name.
These nocturnal bats feed mainly on insects such as moths, flies, and beetles. During winter, they hibernate in tree cavities, rock crevices, or buildings. They can be found in deciduous forests but are often spotted near rivers, streams, and wetlands.
Silver-haired Bats are solitary and can be identified by their slow and erratic flight patterns and their “buzzy” high-pitched call. As insectivores, they play an important role in controlling insect populations, and helping protect crops and humans from the threat of disease-carrying pests.
4. Little Brown Bat
One of the most common types of bats in Mississippi is the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus). This species is found throughout the state, from forests to farmland and even urban areas. It prefers open or semi-open habitats near water, where it can forage for insects. It has a wingspan of 8 to 10 inches, a reddish-brown fur coloration, and a short tail. It is active at night, feeding on moths, beetles, and other small insects.
5. Eastern Red Bat
The Eastern Red Bat is one of Mississippi’s most common types of bats. They are medium-sized bats with reddish-brown fur and short tail. These types of bats in Mississippi can be found in wooded areas, nearby trees, and open fields.
Their diet consists mostly of moths and other insects. These bats migrate south for the winter and return to their summer range in the spring. The Eastern Red Bat is an important part of the Mississippi ecosystem, as they help keep insect populations in check.
6. Tricolored Bat
The tricolored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) is one of the most commonly encountered bats. It is a medium-sized bat with a wingspan of 8-10 inches. It has bright reddish-orange fur on its back with black and white patches on its face and chest.
This species is easily recognizable by its three-toned coloring and can be found roosting in caves, buildings, and trees during the day. These types of bats in Mississippi feed mainly on flying insects such as moths and beetles, hunting at night over open areas or near bodies of water.
7. Northern Long-eared Bat
The Northern Long-eared Bat is one of the bats found in Mississippi. This species has a long, slender body, typically grey or light brown. It has long, rounded ears that extend well beyond the nose when viewed from the side.
They have broad wings with pale white tips and dark brown wings. These types of bats in Mississippi feed mostly on moths and other small insects, catching them mid-air. The Northern Long-eared Bat prefers to roost in dead trees or old buildings but can also be found roosting under loose bark or in hollow tree cavities. They can be active at any time of day or night.
8. Evening Bat
One of the types of bats in Mississippi is the Evening Bat. These are small bats, measuring around 3.5 inches long with a wingspan of 8.7-9.8 inches. They have darker grayish-brown fur on their wings and a lighter color on their belly. Evening Bats are migratory species that travel to northern states in the summer and southern states in the winter.
Evening Bats feed on moths and other small insects, often flying low over open water and fields at night to search for food. They usually roost in trees or under shingles, eaves, or similar structures during the day.
Evening Bats are a great asset to farmers, as they help control insect populations that can damage crops. Overall, Evening Bats are an important part of the ecosystem in Mississippi and can often be spotted at dusk or near dawn during the warmer months of the year.
9. Eastern Small-footed Bat
The Eastern Small-footed Bat is one of the nine types of bats found in Mississippi. This species is one of the smallest of the Myotis family, with a wingspan of 8 to 9 inches wingspan and weighing only 7 to 10 grams. They are also one of the least common species of bats in Mississippi, inhabiting mainly hardwood forests and mountainous areas.
Eastern Small-footed Bats typically roost inside caves or abandoned mines and occasionally use hollow trees for shelter. During summer, they feed mainly on moths and other small flying insects. These types of bats in Mississippi usually hunt within an hour after sunset and often fly low to the ground for food.
The Eastern Small-footed Bat is considered a species of least concern, meaning it is not currently threatened. However, due to habitat destruction, their numbers may be declining in some areas of Mississippi.
10. Mexican Free-tailed Bat
The Mexican Free-tailed Bat is one of Mississippi’s most common types of bats. These types of bats in Mississippi are quite large, with wingspans up to 12 inches long and 4 inches long. They are easily identified by their reddish-brown fur and distinctive ears that resemble tiny piglets.
The Mexican Free-tailed Bat can be found throughout the state, usually in caves, attics, and other manufactured structures. They typically feed on insects such as moths and beetles but occasionally eat small fish and other small animals. Mexican Free-tailed Bats typically hibernate during winter but may occasionally become active in warmer months.
During the summer, they can often be seen flying around at night, catching prey in mid-air. They also roost in large colonies, sometimes numbering in the thousands. Though this type of Bat is found all over the state, they are especially abundant in the Delta region, where many large caves shelter them. If you happen to spoof these bats in your area, it’s a sure sign that you’ve got some great types of bats in Mississippi!
11. Seminole Bat
The Seminole Bat (Lasiurus seminolus) is found in other parts of the United States. It is one of the many types of bats found in Mississippi and one of the least common. The Seminole Bat has reddish-brown fur on its back and white fur underneath, making it easily distinguishable from other types of bats found in Mississippi.
Its wingspan can reach up to 15 inches, making it a relatively large bat compared to other species. The Seminole Bat typically feeds on insects, such as moths and beetles, and prefers to live in wooded areas near water. These types of bats in Mississippi are nocturnal creatures, so they are most active at night and can be seen flying around for food.
Because the Seminole Bat is a species of concern, it is important to take steps to protect them and their habitats. If you spot a Seminole bat in Mississippi, contact the local wildlife agency and report your sighting so that proper steps can be taken to protect this species.
12. Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat
This is one of the more unique types of bats in Mississippi. This species is only found in parts of the United States, with populations concentrated mainly in the southern and eastern states. The Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat can be identified by its big ears, small body, and long tail.
They prefer wooded areas and roost in trees and structures. Their diets consist mostly of insects, and they rely on echolocation to find their prey. These bats are considered a species of the least concern, but there has been a population decline due to habitat destruction.
13. Southeastern Myotis
The Southeastern Myotis is one of the types of bats in Mississippi. It is a medium-sized species and can be identified by its dark fur, short tail, and black ears. Its wingspan is usually less than 10 inches and weighs between 7 and 15 grams.
It is found in forests across the southeastern United States and feeds primarily on small insects such as moths, beetles, and ants. The Southeastern Myotis typically roosts in tree cavities or crevices of manufactured structures like bridges and buildings. These types of bats in Mississippi are active at night and emerge shortly after dusk to feed.
The Southeastern Myotis has been reported throughout Mississippi, but they are most abundant in wooded areas where food sources such as trees and other vegetation exist. Another type of Bat in Mississippi is the Red Bat, which can be identified by its reddish-brown fur with pale patches underneath its wings. These types of bats in Mississippi prefer open woodlands with plenty of mature trees, which provide suitable roosting sites.
Red bats are also quite versatile in their diet and will often switch up depending on availability. They mostly feed on flying insects but consume fruits and nectar when they can access them.
During winter, these bats will seek shelter under large trees with plenty of foliage for protection from cold temperatures. Furthermore, another type of Bat found in Mississippi is the Big Brown Bat. This Bat is larger than the Southeastern Myotis but smaller than the Red Bat.
14. Gray Bat
The Gray Bat is one of the types of bats in Mississippi and is the most endangered in the United States. These bats live in cave colonies throughout the state, roost in large groups, and feed on insects. Gray Bats are larger than other bat species found in Mississippi, with an average wingspan of 10-12 inches.
Their fur is silvery-gray, with long ears extending well beyond their nose. The Gray Bat is a protected species, and hunting or disturbing them is illegal.
Mississippi is home to a variety of different types of bats. Many species can be found in the state, from the large Big Brown Bat to the smallest Eastern Small-footed Bat. Identifying and recognizing the different types of bats in Mississippi can be a great way to get out into nature and observe these incredible creatures.
Knowing more about the unique characteristics of each species can also help in their conservation efforts. Recognizing and appreciating these bats can help protect them and their habitats for future generations.