Frequently Asked Questions
is it called Indiana Bat?
The first specimen was discovered and described in Indiana in 1928.
What is the status of the Indiana Bat?
These bats have decreased from approximately 808,000 in the 1950s
to 350,000 (1997 survey). Not much is known about the bats ecology
although scientific data is currently being gathered.
What are the Characteristics of the Indiana Bat?
How do you distinguish the Indiana Bat from other species?
- Length: 7.62-8.89 cm (3-3.5 in.) Approximate size of a small
- Weight: ranges from 4.5 - 9.5 grams (.16 - .34 oz.) Weight
of an average door key.
- Wingspan: 24 - 27 cm (9 1/2 - 10 1/2 inches) Color: dull greyish
- Lifespan: 14 years
It has pink lips, extended tragus (projection in the ear), and bi-color
hair, dark at the base and light on the ends.
How does the Indiana Bat benefit the environment?
The Indiana Bat's diet is insects. The bats help to keep insect numbers
under control and eat nuisance and pest insects like alfalfa weevils
and gypsy moths. Their presence adds to the biological diversity of
What is being done to protect the Indiana Bat?
Habitat Enhancement: US Forest Service (US Dept. of Agriculture) actively
manages watersheds and forests to provide Indiana Bat habitat including
sources of water, roosts and forage areas. Bat-friendly gates have
been installed in key breeding sites. Collaboration continues with
federal, state and private organizations to improve bat habitat rangewide.
Consultation: US Forest Service
consults both informally and formally with US Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS - US Department of Interior) whenever new issues develop to
ensure that new information is considered and that projects maintain
or enhance the bats' conservation and recovery.
Recovery Plan: USFWS developed
a recovery plan in 1976, followed by a revision in 1983. A newly revised
recovery plan for the Indiana Bat is due out in 1999.
Research: Research continues
to investigate the cause(s) of the dramatic decline of Indiana Bats
populations and appropriate actions necessary to conserve this species.
What is the scientific name of the Indiana Bat?
Myotis sodalis. Myotis comes from two Greek words meaning "mouse
ear" and sodalis comes from the Latin word for "companion,"
which refers to this bat's habitat of hibernating in large groups
known as clusters. It is also referred to as the "social"
bat because of its habit of congregating.
What is the range of the Indiana Bat?
The Indiana Bat is found over most of the eastern half of the US.
However, most large hibernating populations are found in Indiana,
Missouri and Kentucky.
What is the habitat of the Indiana Bat?
Indiana bats hibernate during winter in caves and abandoned mines.
Density of hibernating bats can range from 300 to 484 bats/square
foot. Some caves support over 80,000 bats. Suitable hibernation sites
in caves must be draft- free and have a constant winter temperature.
After hibernation, Indiana bats migrate to summer roosts, which are
generally edges of hardwood forests. During summer, males roost singly
or in small groups. Females may roost in groups of up to 100 bats.
How do Indiana Bats reproduce?
Bats mate in fall before entering caves for hibernation. Females store
sperm through winter and become pregnant in spring after hibernation,
then migrate to summer areas, where they roost under peeling bark
of dead or dying trees to have their young (called pups). These bats
have only 1 pup each year.
What is the diet of the Indiana Bat?
Variety of night-flying aquatic and terrestrial insects along rivers,
lakes and in upland areas, such as flies and moths.
When was the Indiana Bat first listed as Endangered?
By USFWS on March 11, 1967.
What is meant by "Endangered"?
Endangered species are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming
extinct throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
How does a species become listed as Endangered or Threatened?
The listing process is one of the basic functions performed by USFWS
in carrying out its responsibilities under the Endangered Species
Act. USFWS has developed a priority system designed to direct its
efforts toward the plants and animals in greatest need of protection.
In order to list, reclassify, or delist a species, USFWS must follow
a strict legal process known as a "rulemaking" procedure.
The rule is first proposed in the Federal Register, a US Government
publication. After a public comment period, USFWS decides if the rule
should be approved, revised, or withdrawn. This process encourages
the participation of all interested parties, including the general
public. The entire process can take up to a year or longer in unusual
What does Endangered listing mean?
Once a species is listed, all protective measures authorized by the
Endangered Species Act apply to the species and its habitat. Such
measures may include: protection from any adverse effects of federal
activities; restrictions on taking, transporting, or selling a species
and authorization for USFWS to develop and carry out recovery plans.
Why is the Indiana Bat Endangered?
Indiana Bat populations have been declining since early 1960s. The
declining numbers were observed at hibernation sites such as caves
and abandoned mines, where the bats gather in large numbers. There
are several scientific theories as to what factors are contributing
to the bats' decline:
Human Disturbance - First listed
as endangered largely because of their habit of living in very large
numbers in only a few caves. This makes the bats extremely vulnerable
to disturbance. Significant portion of the population can be affected
by just one event.
Cave Commercialization and Improper
Gating - Any gate or structure placed on the cave or mine that prevents
bat access or alters air flow, temperature, humidity, or amount of
light is harmful.
Low Birth Rate - Because of
low reproductive rates (Indiana Bats typically have only 1 young each
year) coupled with a potentially high death rate, it may take years
to replace lost individuals.
What are other possible causes of Indiana Bat decline?
The following is speculation that has yet to be proven:
Habitat Loss or Degradation
- Much of the midwestern forests have been converted to urban and
agricultural uses, removing forest habitat from Indiana Bat use.
Agricultural Chemicals - Chemicals
may kill insects that bats eat. The bats may eat contaminated insects;
drink contaminated water, or absorb chemicals when feeding in recently-treated