The Indiana Bat is a small brown-colored bat that looks very similar to the Little Brown Bat. They are so similar, that with an untrained eye and without a closer look you won’t be able to tell them apart. The Indiana Bat can live up to 9 years in the wild (some can live nearly twice as long).
- Weight – 1/8 – 1/4 oz.
- Body Length – 3 – 3 5/8in.
- Wingspan – 9 – 11in.
- Forearm – 1 3/8 – 1 5/8in.
Indiana Bats consume thousands of flying insects each night, which helps prevent millions of dollars in damage to agricultural farms and helps farmers use less pesticide to control pest infestations. They feed on moths, beetles, flies and caddis flies. Feeding periods begin one or two hours after sunset and continue until sunrise.
Reproduction and Mating
Indiana Bats mate in the fall months of September and October. Like all of Maryland’s bats, the female stores the sperm from the male through the hibernation and becomes pregnant during the spring migration. Once the females reach their roosting place, they form maternity colonies, usually in tree cavities or under the loose bark of trees. Females are pregnant for 49 to 56 days and give birth to one pup in late June. The pups feed on their mother’s milk for about 3 to 4 weeks and then begin to fly on their own.
Due to population decline and habitat destruction, the Indiana Bat is on the endangered species list. These bats are still occasionally sighted in many states from Tennessee to Florida, including Maryland and, of course, Indiana. The Indiana Bat is known to migrate to caves when it is time to hibernate in the fall, and in the spring they will migrate back to their roosting place many miles away.
Threats to the Indiana Bat Population
The researchers estimate that since the mid-70s, the population of the Indiana Bat has shrunk as much as 50%. It is currently estimated that there are fewer that 250,000 Indiana Bats left on this planet, and about a quarter of this remaining population hibernates in a few caves in Indiana. The main cause of this sharp decline is destruction of colonies, as well as their natural habitat as a result of urbanization. Another cause is the white-nose syndrome common in these and several other bat species. The white fungus that grows around a bat’s nose is deadly and has killed thousands of bats over the years. It’s been spreading quickly from state to state due to the bat’s migration habits.
If you come across Indiana Bats in your attic or elsewhere on your property, contact Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control to have them safely removed and relocated to a more suitable habitat.