Bats are found in nearly every geographic region in Florida. Favorite environments include tropical forests, woodlands, open fields, both suburban and urban communities, and even deserts. Roosting requirements usually depend on the species, but caves, trees, hollowed logs, rock crevices, and human dwellings serve as excellent habitats.

Are Bats Protected in Florida?

Bats have been given a bad reputation as blood-sucking vampires, but all bats in Florida are insectivores. They eat over a thousand insects every night.

Recognizing their importance, state and federal governments place protections on bats, making it illegal to kill them. That’s not the only reason bats are protected. A few more include the following:

  • Bats do not reproduce as quickly as other wildlife. The females typically give birth to one or two pups a year. Slow reproduction puts the species at risk for population decline.
  • Bats are killed by humans who do not understand their importance and likely do not know about the laws protecting the species.
  • Wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of migrating bats around the world.
  • Pesticides used by farmers reduce the number of bugs available for bats to eat.
  • Disturbances during hibernation cause bats to use up stored fat too soon, leaving them without a food source for the rest of the winter.
  • White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that spreads through bat colonies and has almost eliminated the Northern long-eared, little brown, and tri-colored bats.

Bat Season in Florida

In the state of Florida, not only is it illegal to kill or trap bats, but also you cannot evict bats from your home if flightless pups are present.

Bat maternity colonies begin to form in early April. These roosts are frequently near areas prone to insect swarms such as fields, ponds, or neighborhoods. In the late spring or summer, homeowners who see bats leaving an attic or overhang at twilight may need to check for an infestation.

If you need bat removal between April 15 and August 15, you need a special permit to install bat exclusions.

13 Native Florida Bat Species

Florida has thirteen recognized native bat species. Some bat species live in every part of the state. Other species are found in specific areas. Florida has a warm climate that allows bats to survive year-round, but some bats like the hoary bat actually migrate to Florida during the winter.

Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat

Their short fur ranges from dark brown to grayish-brown and has a tail that extends past its short tail membrane. They are most often recognized by the strong, musky odor they emit due to a scent gland they have. They roost in large colonies ranging from a few hundred up to several thousand and prefer man-made structures such as buildings and bridges and especially under barrel tile roofs. The Brazilian free-tailed bat is the most common bat in Florida and is found throughout the state excluding the Keys.

Southeastern Myotis Bat

These medium-sized bats are found in the northwest panhandle and weigh 5 to 12 grams with gray to brown dorsal fur and yellowish to white fur on the stomach. Typically, they form colonies in caves, hollow trees, bat houses, buildings, bridges, and culverts.

Evening Bat

Common throughout all of Florida except in the Keys, evening bats form colonies of about eighty bats in buildings and other man-made structures such as bridges, utility poles, and bat houses. They have brown fur on the back and whitish fur on the stomach with a “dog-like” muzzle.

Eastern Red Bat

The Eastern red bat is found in the eastern US and throughout the northern half of Florida. They are solitary creatures, roosting in tree foliage, bushes, and Spanish moss. What makes these bats unique is that the colors between the males and females are different, which is uncommon for bats. Males have brick-red, reddish-orange, or yellowish fur, while females’ fur is duller and lighter.

Northern Yellow Bat

The Northern yellow bat is large with thick yellowish to grayish brown fur, perfect for allowing it to be hidden while roosting in the dead palms of sabal palms. They are commonly found throughout Florida except in the Florida Keys.

Seminole Bat

Similar in appearance to the Eastern red bat, the Seminole bat has rich mahogany fur with white tips and white on the shoulders and wrists. Solitary, they roost in pine trees and Spanish moss. They are another bat species found in all of Florida except in the Keys.

Tricolored Bat

Weighing between 4 and 8 grams, the tricolored bat is Florida’s smallest bat. Its fur ranges from silvery-gray to grayish-yellow to light brown. You can identify a tricolored bat from its pink forearms that contrasts with its black wings. This species roosts singly or in small groups in caves, tree foliage, tree cavities, and sometimes buildings and other man-made structures like sheds or barns.

Gray Bat

These bats have gray fur that covers their whole body and weigh between 8 to 10 grams. Gray bats only roost in cave systems and are a federally endangered species found in only one county in the northwest panhandle.

Big Brown Bat

Big brown bats have long and silky, wavy, chocolate-brown to reddish or golden-brown fur with a “dog-like” muzzle and weigh between 11 and 25 grams. Their appearance is like the evening bat’s; only they are larger. They typically roost in dead tree cavities throughout the state of Florida except for the Keys, but will also roost in buildings, bridges, and bat houses.

Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat

Their large, one-inch ears are what sets them apart from other bats. Weighing between 7 and 13 grams, they have grey to brown fur on their back and white fur on their stomach. They roost in small groups in natural roost sites such as hollow trees, tree cavities, and under loose tree bark and are the only species of bat in Florida to collect insects like moths and other soft-bodied insects to eat from tree foliage. Found in different locations, especially in the Florida panhandle and the central and northern portions of the Florida peninsula.

Hoary Bat

The largest tree bat and second-largest bat in Florida weighing 20 to 36 grams. They have thick black to gray fur with orange or yellow around their face. The white tips on the end of their hair give them a frosted appearance. They live in northern states and will migrate south to Florida during the winter months. Hoary bats are solitary, roosting in tree cavities, tree foliage, behind loose bark, and in Spanish moss. From October through April, they are found in north and north-central Florida.

Velvety Free-Tailed Bat

They are dark brown to dark gray with a long tail that extends past a short tail membrane. In Florida, this species has only been discovered roosting in buildings. Thought to have come from Cuba, the velvety free-tailed bat is only found in the Florida Keys from Key West to Key Largo.

Florida Bonneted Bat

Florida’s largest bat weighing between 34 and 47 grams. It has dark gray to brownish-gray fur with a long tail that extends past its uropatagium and large broad ears that join at the base and slant forward over the eyes. They roost colonially in tree cavities, cliff crevices, buildings, and other man-made structures. Found in south Florida excluding the Keys, this species is rare and is on the endangered species list.

Bat Removal in Florida

When natural bat habitats overlap with residential areas, conflicts arise. Bats take up residence in barns, sheds, and other outbuildings, as well as in attics. They find their way inside through gaps in roofs or uncovered chimneys. Once bat colonies are established, resulting problems range from general noise and smell nuisances to the heightened risk of contracting illnesses.

A bat valve is how Critter Control gets rid of bats in Florida. A bat valve allows for bats to exit your home but not re-enter. Since each bat removal is unique, our specialist will use or create a bat valve specifically for your home. Our inspector will determine the proper amount of bat valves to be used, but most removals only require one bat valve.

Once the bat valve is installed, all other bat entry points will be sealed, allowing for bats to only exit through the valve. The removal process typically takes 3-7 days. Our specialist will perform a final attic inspection before removing the valve. After removing the valve, the final entry point will be sealed, leaving your home bat-free.