Most Hoosiers have seen a brown bat (aka Myotis lucifugus or “Little Brown Bat”). It’s the mosquito-gobbling, attic-dwelling species native to much of North America. Bats, the only flying mammal in the animal kingdom, play an important role in our ecosystem. They control the insect population and help to pollinate many plant species.
Sadly, many of our other bat species are harder to spot and their survival may be in jeopardy.
All told, 12 species of bats live in Indiana, but four of these are endangered, including:
~Northern long-eared bat
~Evening bat (endangered in Indiana)
Six other species of bat are listed as species “of special concern” by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (source: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/7662.htm).
Because bats are a misunderstood yet essential part of our ecosystem, it is important that they continue to thrive in Indiana.
What can you do to help? Build your own bat house! Last summer, our Z-Team teen volunteers built several of these simple wooden structures, which now hang on zoo buildings. Pam George, a retired educator, led this essential conservation effort. “This project did more than help our local bats,” said George. “It helped these teens learn new skills, and more importantly, that they can make a difference for wildlife.”
Get easy-to-use bat house plans from Bat Conservation International at batcon.org.
Please remember that bats, like any wild animal, should not be handled.
Click on the images below to enlarge: