Find Indiana bat information at Animal Diversity Web
5 to 11 g; avg. 8 g
(0.18 to 0.39 oz; avg. 0.28 oz)
70.80 to 90.60 mm; avg. 81.70 mm
(2.79 to 3.57 in; avg. 3.22 in)
240 to 267 mm; avg. 253.50 mm
(9.45 to 10.51 in; avg. 9.98 in)
Indiana bats are small, weighing about 7 g and with a forearm of 35 to 41 mm. They are dark grey or brown with soft fur. They look very similar to little brown bats, but have softer fur that is less shiny. However, they are so similar that only experts can really tell them apart. Male and females look very similar, but females are a little bit larger.
Indiana bats only live in North America. They are found in Iowa, Missouri, and northern Arkansas, east to western Virginia and North Carolina, and north into New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. These states include both their winter hibernation locations and summer homes. Indiana bats spend the winter hibernating in caves in the northern parts of these areas. In the summer and fall, they travel to and from summer roosting locations.
1746 m (high); avg. 1047 m
(5726.88 ft; avg. 3434.16 ft)
Indiana bats mostly in limestone caves, though some hibernate under the bark of dead trees. During the summer, Indiana bats roost during the day under the bark of large trees, under bridges, and sometimes in buildings. Trees in which Indiana bats are known to roost include bitternut hickory, oaks, elms, pines, American sycamore, and eastern cottonwoods. In summer, they roost at elevations from 0 to 1,746 m above sea level. The average summer elevation is 1,047 m.
Male Indiana bats mate with multiple females. They wait for females at the entrance to their winter hibernation location during their big gathering in October or November, which is called a fall swarm.
Indiana bats breed once yearly.
Copulation generally occurs in October, before hibernation.
1 to 2; avg. 1
68 days (high)
25 to 37 days; avg. 31 days
2 to 3 months; avg. 2.50 months
Indiana bats breed in the fall, usually in late October right before they begin to hibernate. Females don't get pregnant until spring, and the young are born in the summer. Females give birth to only one pup per year, but in rare cases can have twins. Most pups are born between late June and early July and drink their mother's milk for about 31 days. This can be as few as 25 and as many as 37 days. The first born pup of the season can fly as early as the middle of July.
Females care for pups after they are born at summer roosting sites. They often form maternity colonies, which are groups of almost only mothers and their pups. Females feed the pups milk from their bodies for about 31 days. After 2 to 3 months, pups are fully independent from their mothers.
20 years (high)
15 years (high)
Indiana bats have lived as long as 20 years in the wild. Their expected lifespan in the wild is 15 years.
2 to 8 m^2; avg. 5 m^2
Indiana bats are social, which explains their other common name, "social myotis." They don't have social hierarchies, however. Males and females hibernate together in the winter, but adults separate in the summer months when females and their young join maternity colonies. Indiana bats migrate from winter hibernation location to summer roosts, traveling up to thousands of kilometers. They forage over a wide area during the summer months.
The area Indiana bats travel and feed in changes depending on the bat and the time of year. Home ranges are about 625 hectares during the fall, and 255 hectares in the spring. They don't defend their home ranges, but mothers may defend a maternity colony from potential threats that come within 5 sq m.
Like other insect-eating bats, Indiana bats find their way through their habitats using echolocation. This means that they listen to echoes to figure out where insects and obstacles are. Indiana bats have good eyesight which helps them migrate between summer and winter locations. They don't seem to communicate with each other by sound, but do use chemicals to communicate for reproduction.
Indiana bats eat lots of insects. They mostly eat beetles, flies, bees and wasps, butterflies and moths, and caddisflies. Females eat different kinds of insects depending on whether they are pregnant or nursing. In the south, they eat more insects on land, and northern Indiana bats eat more insects from wetlands.
Predators that eat Indiana bats include snakes, owls, raccoons, and other medium-sized mammals. Indiana bats avoid predators by roosting in caves and tree crevices. They are also active at night and quick in flight. Their camouflage coloration also helps to protect them from predators.
Humans don't eat Indiana bats, but sometimes kill them. For example, at Carter Caves State park in Kentucky, two men clubbed 105 Indiana bats to death. Humans also unintentionally kill bats by destroying or cutting down trees they roost in or disturbing hibernation sites.
Indiana bats help control insect populations and are prey for bat predators. Some kinds of mites (Steatonyssus occidentalis and Macronyssus crosbyi) live on their bodies, but they don't seem to get parasites inside their intestines. They add nutrients to their cave environments, including their body waste and the nutrients from their bodies when they die.
Indiana bats can become a nuisance if their summer roosting location is destroyed and they move into homes or attics. Like most mammals in the United States, Indiana bats also may be carriers of rabies. However, rabies infection in Indiana bats is rare, and usually humans wouldn't be close enough to them to get it anyway.
Indiana bats may impact humans by helping to control pest insect populations.
controls pest population.
Indiana bats are endangered according to the IUCN Red List and the U.S. federal list. They are mostly threatened by habitat loss, so their numbers are monitored. Any organization wanting to change a section of their habitat has to accommodate them specially. Humans also disturb Indiana bats through exploring caves for fun, so many of the caves where they hibernate are now closed off to humans.
Like many North American bats, Indiana bats are threatened by a disease called “white-nose syndrome,” where a fungus grows on their noses while they are hibernating. This causes the bats wake up from hibernation and use up all of their energy resources. It has killed many bat populations since it was discovered in 2007. At some hibernation locations, as many as 90% of bats have died from the fungus.
Anna Burgess, Radford University
Gail McCormick, Special Projects
Karen Francl, Radford University
Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan
Catherine Kent, Special Projects
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