Indiana Bats (Myotis sodalis)

Sadly, at the moment, the future looks pretty bleak for Indiana bats :-/ They're an endangered species that is found in the eastern part of the United States, with a large population resident in Indiana.

You might have heard of White Nose Syndrome? It's a fungal disease that's posing a serious threat to bats, especially species like this that are already on the decline.

These little creatures have a lot to deal with and other threats include:

  • pesticide poisoning
  • defosteration
  • roost disturbance

Summer is a critical time for them (scientific name: Myotis sodalis) because this is when the baby bats are being reared.

Loss of their roosts during the summer because of deforestation can spell disaster for a maternity colony. Especially because if a mother bat loses her baby (also known as a pup), then there'll be a year's gap before she has another one.

Like other insect-eating members of chiroptera, they play a very important role in ecosystems by keeping insect population levels in check. They literally eat thousands of pesky pests like mosquitoes and midges every night!

So how would you recognise an Indiana bat if you saw one? Well they can be quite difficult to tell from other small brown bats but one feature that sets them apart is their pink lips.

They don't grow that large, in fact an adult will measure between 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) in length from head to toe. And although brown fur is common, the Myotis sodalis species can also be black in colour.

Males and females don't tend to live together during the spring and summer months. But during the autumn, they mate and then congregate to hibernate during the winter in caves.

A typical hibernation site or hibernaculum would need to have a cold but not sub-zero temperature, so that they don't use up too much energy while they hibernate.

(Warmth speeds up metabolism which would mean their precious fat reserves wouldn't last them the whole winter).

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