Bats are the only flying mammals. Bats are extremely beneficial because they eat enormous numbers of insects. The numbers of bats have decreased because of disturbances to their colonies while they are hibernating and when mothers are nursing offspring. Bats are considered an indicator species, which means that their presence, abundance, and diversity reflects the health of an ecosystem.
Bats have very few natural enemies. Their dependence on wetlands for foraging, mature trees and snags for roosting, and caves and mines for hibernating exemplifies the need to protect these types of natural resources.
By putting up a bat house you are helping our bats find a home. You will also benefit from having fewer yard and garden pests and will enjoy learning about bats and sharing your knowledge with friends and family.
As the primary predators of night-flying insects, bats play a vital role in maintaining the balance of nature. Bats are consumers of vast numbers of pests and they rank among humanity’s most valuable allies. A single little brown bat can catch hundreds of mosquito-sized insects an hour.
Bats are not blind and they are very clean. They do not get caught in peoples’ hair or eat through the attic of your house. Bats will not interfere with feeding backyard birds, and they will not be disrupted by pets or children.
There are 15 bat species native to Washington. The Washington Department of Wildlife lists nine bat species as "Species of Special Concern". The Townsend's big-eared bat is one of our rarest Puget Sound bats. They are very dependent on caves, where they hibernate and raise their young. This bat is extremely sensitive to human disturbance - entire established colonies have disappeared following disturbance.
Bats you're likely to see (or hear) around the Puget Sound area:
- Little Brown Myotis, Myotis lucifugus (pictured above)
- Yuma Myotis, Myotis yumanensis
- Keen's Myotis, Myotis keenii
- Long-eared Myotis, Myotis evotis
- Long-legged Myotis, Myotis volans
- California Myotis, Myotis californicus
- Big Brown Bat, Eptesicus fuscus
- Silver-haired Bat, Lasionycteris noctivagans
- Hoary Bat, Lasiurus cinereus
- Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Corynorhinus Townsendii
Additional Washington State Bats:
- Pallid Bat, Antrozous pallidus
- Fringed Myotis, Myotis thysanodes
- Small-footed Myotis, Myotis ciliolabrum
- Western Pipistrelle, Pipistrellus hesperus
- Spotted Bat, Euderma maculatum
- Bats' slow reproduction rate makes them exceptionally vulnerable to extinction; most species of female bats give birth to only one young each year.
- Bats are an important predator of night-flying insects. They consume mosquitos, beetles, moths, grasshoppers, locusts, and other insects.
- More than 50% of American bat species are in severe decline or already listed as endangered.
- Loss of bats increases demand for chemical pesticides, can jeopardize whole ecosystems of other animal and plant species, and can harm human economies.
- A colony of 150 big brown bats has been known to protect local farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.
- Bat droppings in caves support whole ecosystems of unique organisms, including bacteria useful in detoxifying waters, improving detergents, and producing gasohol and antibiotics.