U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Endangered Bats of America
Bats have lived in America since the age
of dinosaurs. Today they rank among
our most endangered wildlife. The loss of
bats threatens the balance of nature and
our economy. The majority of bats in the
United States eat insects; a few bat
species in the Southwest and in Florida
drink nectar and pollinate plants. In fact,
bats are very important controllers of
night-flying insects. One little brown bat
can catch up to 1,200 mosquitoes in just
one hour! Bats help control many insects
that attack farm and garden crops.
Having bats around helps reduce our
dependence on insect-killing chemicals,
benefitting human health and nature.
Of the 45 kinds of bats living in the
United States, seven are in danger of
The greater (Mexican) long-nosed bat
(Leptonycteris nivalis) is an insect- and
nectar-feeding bat found in the Big Bend
region of southwestern Texas. Nectar-feeding
bats are primary pollinators and
spread the seeds of many desert plants.
The lesser long-nosed bat
(Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae) is
an insect- and nectar-feeding bat found in
the caves and mines of the Southwest. This
bat helps pollinate the saguaro and organ-pipe
cacti and the agave, the plant from
which tequila is made.
The Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus
cinereus semotus) is Hawaii’s only native
bat. It helps control night-flying insects.
The gray bat (Myotis grisescens) forages
over rivers and reservoirs in the
Southeast and depends on a few caves in
Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee,
Kentucky, and Alabama to hibernate,
roost, and bear young.
The Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) roosts
in hollow trees or underneath the loose
bark of trees in eastern woodlands
during the summer and depends on just
nine caves for winter hibernation.
The Virginia big-eared bat
(Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus)
is found only in a few caves in the mountain
and plateau regions of Kentucky, West
Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
The Ozark big-eared bat (Corynorhinus
townsendii ingens) is found only in a few
caves in the Ozark Mountains of
Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
Despite their many values, more than
half of America’s bat species are
endangered or in decline. But you can
help keep these bats alive!
Ø Learn all you can about bats.
Ø Do not use pesticides or dump
chemicals into waterways.
Ø Stay out of caves that are gated or
have signs posted
Ø Never shoot, poison, or harm bats
or the places they live.
Ø If you find a bat, please leave it
alone. Bats can bite in self-defense
like most wild animals.
For more information about endangered
bats, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s
web site at http://endangered.fws.gov/
bats/bats.htm, the National Wildlife
Federation’s Keep The Wild Alive campaign
web site at http://www.nwf.org/wildalive,
or Bat Conservation International at
1-800/538-BATS or visit their web site at
“The mission of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service is working with
others to conserve, protect, and
enhance fish, wildlife, and plants
and their habitats for the continuing
benefit of the American people.”
Developed in cooperation with Bat Conservation International and the National Wildlife Federation.
Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus)
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