Worldwide, there are approximately 1,450 different species of bats, inhabiting every continent and region except the arctic circles and deserts such as the Sahara and Mojave. Bats comprise nearly 25% of all mammal species on Earth today.
Of the 1,450 bat species, approximately 70% are insect eaters, 29% are fruit and nectar eaters, and 1% are carnivores (including vampire bats). In the 50 United States, we find 45 species of insectivorous bats, and 34 of those species are found in Texas. In North Central Texas (Dallas/Ft. Worth), seven of those species are commonly found. There are no fruit bats or vampire bats in this country.
Three Fun Facts About Bats
- Bats are not flying mice. Bats are not even remotely related to rodents. Bats are such unique animals that scientists have placed them in a group all their own, called ‘Chiroptera’, which means hand-wing.
- Bats don’t “carry’” rabies, however, they are capable of catching the disease just like any other mammal.
- Bat populations in rapid decline, and White Nose Syndrome is threatening them even further. Half the bats in the US are listed as rare, threatened or endangered.
Encountered a Bat? A bat that is found indoors is most likely to be a crevice-dwelling species. Although the fur color of crevice-dwelling bats varies, it is usually a shade of gray or brown. These bats are often lost youngsters or migrating bats. Oftentimes they will find their way out through an open window or door. If a bat is flying in a room you can help it find its way out through an open door by turning off the lights inside the room and shining a flashlight beam out the open door. Make sure doors to other rooms are closed off first and the only door open leads to the outside. If this is not an option, contact your local Animal Control or a local wildlife rehabilitator for assistance.
Local Wildlife Rescue Search
How to keep bats out
Repellent devices are not effective and may cause the opposite effect of attracting bats. Additionally, chemical toxicants (such as moth balls) should never be used to solve bat problems as it may cause poisoning.
Bats in Building - Quick Help Sheet (Bat World)