top of page
Skip to a specific bat

Meet Muncie's Microbats

9 species of bats may be found in Delaware County, with 13 total species documented throughout our state.

BUT FIRST, A QUICK SAFETY CHECK:

never touch a wild bat!

Find a nearby, permitted wildlife rehabilitator here.

Indiana Bat

SCROLL DOWN TO START LEARNING, OR SKIP TO A BAT:

Moth art

Bats [Chiroptera] are the 2nd largest order of mammals – with 1,400+ species worldwide! They play key roles in global ecosystems by providing pest control (insects), pollinating plants (agave, guava), dispersing fruit seeds (avocados, bananas), & dropping nutrients (guano) that support cave-dwelling insects and amphibians. Scroll down to learn about our local bats!

all bats in Indiana share the following:

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom:
Phylum:

Subphylum:
Class:
Subclass:
Infraclass:
Order:
Suborder:
Family:

Animalia [animals]
Chordata [chordates]

Vertebrata [vertebrates]
Mammalia [mammals]
Theria [live-bearing mammals]
Eutheria [placental mammals]
Chiroptera [bats]
Microchiroptera [microbats]
Vespertilionidae [evening + vesper bats]

*our local bats have different subfamilies, genera (genus), & species.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES

  • free pest control by eating harmful & pesky insects (helps farmers & the crops we eat!)

HABITAT

  • use of forests (woodlands, wetlands, & riparian areas)

THREATS

  • White-nose syndrome (WNS)

  • habitat loss (deforestation), invasive species, and cave/mine disturbances

  • climate change (severe & frequent changes in weather patterns)

  • pollutants (use of pesticides & herbicides)

  • wind turbines

  • harmful myths and misinformation

DIET

  • insects (mosquitoes, beetles, stink bugs, & moths)

TRAITS

  • use of echolocation

  • nocturnal (active at night)

  • plain noses (no nose leaf)

  • ears possess a tragus

  • small eyes

  • long tails

General bat info

Now, let's meet our local bats!

USE THIS CONSERVATION STATUS KEY:

SC = State Special Concern

SE = State Endangered

FT = Federal Threatened

FE = Federal Endangered

Conservation key
Helpful terms

& THESE HELPFUL TERMS:

Calcar = a cartilage, spike-shaped structure that arises from the ankle and extends toward the tail (a spur)
Calcar (Keeled)
= a calcar that extends/protrudes the tail membrane (look for a triangle shape near feet)
Conservation
= the act of keeping & protecting from waste, loss, or destruction
Deforestation
= the cutting down of forests or groups of trees for non-forest use
Echolocation
= process of locating objects using sound waves (used for navigation, hunting, & social calls)
Ecosystem
= all living and non-living things in an area (plants, animals, soil, water, air)
Extirpated 
= a species that is no longer observed in a specific region (some call it a "local extinction")
Foliage
= the leaves, flowers, and branches of a tree
Forage 
= to search for food
Fragmentation
= process of a large habitat area being transformed into smaller, isolated patches
Hibernacula
= a place where bats hibernate during winter (caves, mines, crevices in rocks, built structures)
Invasive Species
= species not native to where they are found (can disturb local ecosystems)
Maternity Colony
= a temporary gathering of pregnant female bats for giving birth & raising baby bats (pups!)
Migratory
= species that migrate (most bat species that roost in trees during summer migrate south for winter)
Myotinae
= mouse-eared, silver-haired, and wing-gland bats (a subfamily of Vespertilionidae, vesper bats)
Nocturnal
= active at night
Pesticide
= a chemical substance used to kill insects that harms plants and crops (& the animals that eat them)
Riparian area
= relating to or living or located on the banks of a natural waterway (river, stream, reservoir)
Roost
= any place wild bats live (trees, caves, mines, built structures, & sometimes bat boxes)
Tragus
= a cartilage structure within the ear, located in front of ear canal (assists in echolocation)
Uropatagium
= membrane stretching between legs, encompassing all/parts of tail (assists in flight)
Vespertilioninae
= evening, forest, pipistrelle, & serotine bats (a subfamily of Vespertilionidae, vesper bats)
Wetlands
= areas where water covers or floods the soil (marshes, swamps)
White-nose Syndrome (WNS) 
= fungal disease killing cave-dwelling bats in North America (whitenosesyndrome.org)
Woodlands
= land covered with trees 

Can't find a word you're looking for? Check out the glossary for more terms & resources.

Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)

Myotis sodalis

INDIANA BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SE & FE
Subfamily =
Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

Moth-Outline.png
v2IndianaBat-watercolor_noBg_edited.png

CHARACTERISTICS

Length = 3 - 3½ inches

Weight = 5 - 11 grams

Wingspan = 9½ - 10½ inches

Lifespan = 15 years (average)

Fur = dark gray to brown above & gray below; soft & fluffy

Tragus = slender & pointed

Calcar = keeled

Other = short toe hairs; wings & body are same color

ROOSTING HABITS

Summer = forest trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark)

Winter = caves & mines

Size = small to large groups, in tight clusters

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

Eptesicus fuscus

BIG BROWN BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = 
Subfamily = Vespertilioninae
Genus = Eptesicus [big brown, forest, & serotine bats]

BigBrownBat-noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
Length
= 4½ - 5 inches
Weight
= 13 - 25 grams
Wingspan
= 13 inches (average)
Lifespan
= up to 20 years
Fur
= two-toned, black base with brown tips; long; oily
Tragus
= broad & rounded
Calcar
= keeled
Other
= short, blunt ears; black snout, ears, & wing membrane; very large bat

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= forest trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark) & structures
Winter
= caves, mines, & structures
Size
= solitary, or small groups
This species will use a bat house.

Petunia, Big Brown Bat
Chocolate, Big Brown Bat

Photo descriptions: 

Petunia eating a mealworm & Chocolate; 2 big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscusphotographed during an Indiana Master Naturalist class on local bats, led by Dr. Tim Carter.

2019 Kortnie Huffman

meet 2 local big brown bats!

Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)

LITTLE BROWN BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SE
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

Myotis lucifugus

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 2½ - 4 inches
Weight
= 7 - 8 grams
Wingspan
= 8¾ - 10½ inches
Lifespan
= 6 - 10 years (average)
Fur
= tan to dark brown; long; glossy
Tragus
= slender & pointed
Calcar
= no keel
​Other
= long toe hairs (extend beyond claws); dark wings

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= forest trees (cavities/crevices) & structures
Winter
= caves, mines, & structures
Size
= small to large groups, in tight clusters
This species will use a bat house.

LittleBrownBat-noBg_edited.png
Tricolored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

Perimyotis subflavus

TRICOLORED BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SE
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Perimyotis

Formerly known as the eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus).

Moth-Outline_edited.png
Redone-TriColoredBat-noBg_edited.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3 - 3½ inches
Weight
= 4 - 7 grams
Wingspan
= 8½ - 10 inches
Lifespan
= 4 - 8 years (average)
Fur
= "tricolored" – brown to tan to orange
Tragus
= blunt & straight
Calcar
= no keel
​Other
= pink forearms; black wings

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= forest trees (cavities/crevices; foliage)
Winter
= caves & mines
Size
= solitary, or small groups

Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

Myotis septentrionalis

NORTHERN LONG-EARED BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SE & FT
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3 inches (average)
Weight
= 5 - 10 grams
Wingspan
= 9 - 10 inches
Lifespan
= up to 18 years
Fur
= grayish below, brown on top; dull
Tragus
= very long & slender
Calcar
= keeled
​Other
= large ears

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= forest trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark) & under bridges or porches
Winter
= caves & mines
Size
= solitary, or very small groups
This species will use a bat house.

NorthernLongEaredBat_noBg.png
Silver-haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)

SILVER-HAIRED BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Status = SC
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Lasionycteris [silver-haired bats]

SilverhairedBat-noBg.png

Lasionycteris noctivagans

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3½ - 4½ inches
Weight
= 7 - 16 grams
Wingspan
= 10½ - 12 inches
Lifespan
= 5 - 10 years
Fur
= black or dark brown with silver/white frosted tips
Tragus
= blunt & rounded
Calcar
= no keel
Other
= completely furred; black ears

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
Spring-Fall
= trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark; leaf litter; occasionally in walls, attics, or caves
Winter
= migrates south
Size
= solitary, or small groups

Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis)

Nycticeius humeralis

EVENING BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Status = SE
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Nycticeius [evening bats]

EveningBat_noBg.png
Moth-Outline.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3 inches (average)
Weight
= 5 - 14 grams
Wingspan
= 10 - 11 inches
Lifespan
= 2 years (average)
Fur
= dark brown
Tragus
= short & rounded
Calcar
= no keel
Other
= black ears; only 2 upper incisors; strong odor

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
Summer
= trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark; leaf litter); buildings
Winter
= migrates south
Size
= small to large groups
This species will use a bat house.

Hoary Bat (Nycticeius humeralis)

Lasiurus cinereus

HOARY BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Status = SC
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Lasiurus [hairy-tailed bats]

HoaryBat_noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 5 - 6 inches
Weight
= 20 - 35 grams
Wingspan
= 17 inches (average)
Lifespan
= 2 years (average)
Fur
= marbled (orange, yellow, brown) with heavy frosted tips
Tragus
= short, blunt, & curved
Calcar
= keeled
​Other
= completely furred; very large bat

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
Summer
= trees (foliage; loose bark; leaf litter)
Winter
= migrates south
Size
= solitary, or with young

Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)

Lasiurus borealis

EASTERN RED BAT

Species found in Delaware County / East Central Indiana.

Status = SC
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Lasiurus [hairy-tailed bats]

EasternRedBat_noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 3½ - 4½ inches
Weight
= 8 - 16 grams
Wingspan
= 13 inches (average)
Lifespan
= up to 8 years
Fur
= bright orange/brown/red; frosted white tips (females)
Tragus = short, blunt, & curved
Calcar
= keeled
​Other
= completely furred

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
Summer
= trees (foliage; loose bark; leaf litter)
Winter
= migrates south
Size
= solitary, or with young

Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii)

Corynorhinus rafinesquii

RAFINESQUE'S BIG-EARED BAT

[EXTIRPATED] Species last recorded in Indiana in 1962; was found in Delaware County / ECI

Status = SC
Subfamily =  Vespertilioninae
Genus = Corynorhinus [North American big-eared bats]

RafinesquesBigearedBat-noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​Length
= 4 inches (average)
Weight
= 8 - 14 grams
Wingspan
= 10 - 12 inches
Lifespan
= up to 10 years
Fur
= brownish-gray; dull
Tragus
= broad, long, & pointed
Calcar
= keeled
​Other
= huge ears; long toe hairs; large nose glands

ROOSTING HABITS
Summer
= trees (hollow; cavities/crevices)
Winter
= caves & mines; abandoned houses
Size
= solitary, or very small groups

Southeastern Bat (Myotis austroriparius)

Myotis austroriparius

SOUTHEASTERN BAT

[EXTIRPATED] Species last recorded in Indiana in 1977; was found in Southern Indiana.

Status = SC
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

SoutheasternBat-noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​​Length
= 3 - 4 inches
Weight
= 5 - 12 grams
Wingspan
= 9½ - 10½ inches
Lifespan
= 4 - 8 years (average)
Fur
= gray to brown (females more orange); wooly & dull 
Tragus
= slender & pointed
Calcar
= no keel
​Other
= long toe hairs; gray to black wings

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
All 
= caves; occasionally structures (attics, barns, bridges) & trees (hollow; cavities/crevices)
Size = small to large groups; clusters

Gray Bat (Myotis grisescens)

Myotis grisescens

GRAY BAT

Species found in Southern Indiana.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SE & FE (1976)
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

GrayBat-noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​​Length
= 3 - 4 inches
Weight
= 7 - 12 grams
Wingspan
= 10 - 11 inches
Lifespan
= up to 15 years
Fur
= gray & short
Tragus
= sharp
Calcar = no keel
​Other
= wing attached to ankle; all gray fur

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
All 
= caves only
Size = small to large groups; clusters

Myotis leibii

Easterm Small-footed Bat (Myotis leibii)
Moth-Outline_edited.png

EASTERN SMALL-FOOTED BAT

Species found in Southern Indiana; first recorded 2009.

Species confirmed with WNS.

Status = SC
Subfamily = Myotinae
Genus = Myotis [mouse-eared bats]

EasternSmallFootedBat_noBg.png

CHARACTERISTICS
​​​Length
= 3 - 3½ inches
Weight
= 4 - 6 grams
Wingspan
= 8½ - 9 inches
Lifespan
= 6 - 12 years
Fur
= golden-brown, darker on top; glossy
Tragus
= sharp (narrow & pointed)
Calcar
= keeled (sharply)
​Other
= black mask; long tail; very small bat

ROOSTING HABITS (MIGRATORY)
Summer
= caves, mines, bridges, buildings, & trees (cavities/crevices; loose bark)
Winter
= caves
Size
= solitary, or very small groups
This species will use a bat house.

INDIANA IS HOME TO SOME PRETTY COOL BATS!

Keep scrolling to learn about bat traits, habitats, and threats.

(& how we can help!)

TRAITS

Traits

MOST BATS SLEEP WHILE HANGING

UPSIDE DOWN

cropped-redBatRoosting.png

THE CALCAR IS

A CARTILAGE

STRUCTURE ARISING FROM THE ANKLE & GOING TOWARD TAIL

Look for a calcar with no keel on the Gray Bat!

GrayBat-noBg.png
v2_RafinesquesBigearedBat-noBg.png

THE TRAGUS IS A CARTILAGE

STRUCTURE WITHIN THE EAR

Look for a long, pointy tragus on
the Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat!

MICROBATS ARE NOCTURNAL

They are active at night and can eat up to 3,000 insects per feeding!

IndianaBat_noBg_edited_edited.png
rotated-IndianaBat_noBg.png
rotated-IndianaBat_noBg.png
Moth-Outline_edited.png
Moth-Outline.png
Moth-Outline.png

Look for long toe hairs on the Southeastern Bat!

SOME BATS CAN ONLY BE IDENTIFIED BY THE LENGTH OF THEIR

TOE HAIRS!

SoutheasternBat-noBg.png
WingBones.png

CHIROPTERA=

HAND+WING

Echolocation-Graphic_v2.png

Bat sonar

Returning sound waves

WHAT IS

ECHOLOCATION?

Echolocation is the process of locating objects using sound waves. Bats send high-frequency sound waves through the air from their mouths or noses, and listen for echoes when it bounces off nearby objects – like insects or structures. All bats found in our region use echolocation to navigate through the air, find insects to eat, and communicate with other bats.

Hit play to hear echolocation calls of a big brown bat:

00:00 / 00:13

Audio: 10x time expanded big brown bat calls with feeding buzz
Recorded by Katy Warner / CWU, provided by National Park Service

AND, BATS ARE THE ONLY MAMMALS CAPABLE OF TRUE FLIGHT!

Habitat - Forests

HABITAT – FORESTS

(woodlands, wetlands, or riparian areas)

FORESTS PROVIDE BATS WITH:
 places to forage for insects (moths, beetles, mosquitoes, stink bugs)
 places to roost in live or dead trees (under loose bark, in cavities/crevices, or foliage – leaves, branches)
 places for maternity colonies to give birth and raise pups (baby bats!)
 places to drink (big, open bodies of fresh water)


BATS PROVIDE FORESTS (AND NEARBY FARMS) WITH:
 fertilizer for plants & trees from their guano (bat droppings) 
 natural pest control for plants (and crops) by eating thousands of destructive insects every night
& in other regions, bats are key pollinators (agave, guava) & seed dispersers (avocados, bananas) 

West Fork White River, Westside Park, Muncie, Indiana

Trees & land located on the banks of our West Fork White River are examples of a riparian area where local bats may roost, drink fresh water, and feed on insects!

cropped-redBatRoosting.png

LOCAL BATS ROOST IN THE TREES OF CENTRAL U.S. HARDWOOD FORESTS

(OAK, HICKORY, BEECH, MAPLE, ASH, BIRCH, ELM)

Some bats roost in tree foliage, like this Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)!

Habitat - Caves

HABITAT – CAVES

(and abandoned mines)

CAVES PROVIDE BATS WITH:
 places to roost with a consistent environment (temperature, humidity, & air flow)
 places for maternity colonies to give birth and raise pups (baby bats!)
 places to hibernate during winter (hibernacula)
 protection from most predators (hawks, falcons, owls, raccoons, weasels)

BATS PROVIDE CAVES WITH:
 important nutrients (food) from their guano (bat droppings) to support cave-dwelling insects & amphibians

caveFloor.png
Stalagmite (illustrated)
Stalagmite (illustrated)
Stalagmite (illustrated)
Stalagmite (illustrated)

interested in studying or exploring caves? become a

SPELEOLOGIST

( CAVE TO STUDY PERSON )

Stalagmite (illustrated)
CaveScientist.png
IMG-6523_edited.jpg

can you spot the bat?

Photo description: a bat on "Penny Ceiling" in Dripstone Trail, Marengo Cave (a U.S. National Natural Landmark in Indiana). 2021 Kortnie Huffman

Threats & how to help

CURRENT THREATS

(and how we can help!)

HABITAT LOSS

What's causing less natural space for bats?

  • removal of trees; clearing of forests & draining of wetlands for development and roads

  • pesticides harm native pollinators that are needed for bat food (insects)

  • invasive plant species (like garlic mustard & honeysuckle) crowd out native plants & trees needed for insects

  • cave/mine disturbances harm hibernating bats & maternity colonies (moms & pups)

  • climate change creates extreme weather events and warmer temperatures which harm hibernating bats

WIND ENERGY TURBINES

In North America, 3 migratory "tree bats" make up 78.4% of the reported bat deaths due to fatal collisions with wind turbines:

  • Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus); 38%

  • Eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis); 22%

  • Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans); 18.4%

WHITE-NOSE SYNDROME (WNS)

Since 2006, White-nose Syndrome has killed millions of hibernating "cave bats" in North America. Humans can spread the fungal disease between caves on shoes, clothes, & gear. We have seven species that have been confirmed to have WNS in Indiana:

  • Big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

  • Eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii)

  • Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)

  • Gray Bat (Myotis grisescens)

  • Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)

  • Tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

  • Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

HARMFUL MISINFORMATION

A few things we should know:

  • Bats are not rodents or flying mice.

  • North American bats don't feed on blood.

  • Bats are not blind.

  • Less than 1% have rabies, but injured/sick bats are more likely to come into contact with humans.

painted_LittleBrownBat_edited.png

(REMINDER: it's always best to contact a nearby wildlife rehabilitator if you find a wild bat!)

How can we help bats in Delaware County?

There are many ways we can make a difference!

interested in studying bats? become a

CHIROPTEROLOGIST

HAND WING TO STUDY PERSON )

pet_cat22225.png

KEEP CATS INDOORS

(this helps local birds, too!)

Stalagmite_1.png
Stalagmite (illustrated)
Stalagmite_2_large.png
Stalagmite (illustrated)
Stalagmite_5.png

STAY OUT OF CLOSED CAVES & DECONTAMINATE YOUR GEAR

AVOID PESTICIDES, PLANT NATIVE TREES & LEAVE DYING TREES

(when it's safe to do so)

save these dates:

Bat Appreciation Day = April 17

Bat Appreciation Month = October

Bat Week = October 24 – 31

& SPREAD THE WORD

share and celebrate what you've learned with others!

Thanks for learning about our local bats!