What Are Bats?
There are more than 980 species worldwide with about 40 species found in the United States. The three most common species that enter structures are the little brown bat, the big brown bat and the Mexican free-tailed bat.
For centuries, these mammals have been the subject of folklore and myths, often associated with witchcraft, haunted houses, and evil. These myths still exist today and cause unfounded fear in many people.
It is important to contact PMi’s wildlife department if you are experiencing a infestation as there are legal guidelines for safe removal.
- Color: Varies in shade from tan to black
- Legs: Four legs used for crawling; Front two are used as wings
- Shape: Body covered with hair; Two wings and very large ears
- Size: Adult bats average 2 3/16” to 7 ½” (5.5cm – 18.8 cm) in length. They have a wingspan of about 6” to 15” (15.2cm – 38 cm).
- Antennae: No
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Different species living across the United Stated roost in dark secluded areas of buildings and in naturally protected areas like caves.
PLEASE NOTE: In North Carolina is it illegal to move them during their mating season. (May 1st-July 31st)
Big brown bats: This species commonly roosts in attics and church belfries, and behind shutters and loose boards. During the winter months, colonies travel short distances seeking hollow trees, rock crevices, drainage pipes, caves, mines and buildings to hibernate alone or in small groups.
Little brown bats: This species roosts in tree cavities and crevices during the warmer months and seeks shelter in caves and mines to hibernate.
Mexican free-tailed bats: This species usually lives in huge colonies where the young are raised. In the southeast and on the west coast, these bats can be found hiding in structures, but from Texas to Arizona they seek shelter in caves.
These pests can pose a serious health threat to humans if they are found inside a structure. Fungi that harbors in their droppings can cause the lung disease, histoplasmosis. An accumulation of droppings should be professionally decontaminated and removed.
A small percentage of these mammals are also infected with rabies but may not show symptoms. Rabies can be transmitted when saliva or even the body tissue of an infected animal comes in contact with another animal or a human. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you’ve had any contact with a bat.
In addition, if an infestation develops, it is important to treat the area for bat mites and bugs, which will bite humans.