Environmental Issues > Wildlife Main Page > All Wildlife Documents

Wildlife on the BrinkMidwest : Indiana Bat
Indiana BatSpecies Gallery

Indiana Bat
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Myotis sodalis

STATUS: Endangered

HABITAT: Hardwood riparian and floodplain forests in summer; limestone caves in winter

LIFE HISTORY: Hibernate November through March; will migrate up to 300 miles to summer foraging grounds. Individuals return to same cave annually. Cave populations may exceed 100,000 bats.

THREATS: Loss of suitable caves for hibernation due to development and other human disturbances; possible risk due to pesticides

FORMER RANGE: Entire eastern U.S.

CURRENT POPULATION: 350,000-500,000

This little brown bat weighs about as much as a door key, but it's a mighty insect killer. A single colony of Indiana bats can consume a thousand bugs a night, including pest insects like alfalfa weevils and gypsy moths.
Roughly 350,000 Indiana bats are still in existence—87 percent of them hibernate in only seven limestone caves, clustering in tight masses of thousands of bats. Over the past 25 years, the bat's numbers have declined more than 50 percent—disturbance during hibernation by vandals and spelunkers and possibly poisoning by insecticides seem to be the causes. Forest clearing could also be affecting the bat's summer habitat.
The Indiana bat was listed as endangered in 1967.
Photos: Isle Royale National Park © William Walsh; Indiana bat © USFWS; Canadian lynx © Erwin and Peggy Bauer, USFWS; least tern © Ryan Hagerty, USFWS
Feature Home Print Version Alaska Northwest California Rockies/Prairie Southwest Midwest Southeast Northeast Hawaii International Indiana Bat Canada Lynx Least Tern

Get Updates and Alerts

See the latest issue >

Donate to NRDC
Give the Gift That Will Make a Difference: Den Defender

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.

Donate now >

Switchboard Blogs

Songbird SOS
posted by Jennifer Sass, 12/3/15
New Report on the Destructive Impacts of Energy Development on Wildlife
posted by Amanda Jahshan, 11/24/15
No Room to Roam - New Top Ten Report Highlights the Isolation of Yellowstone Grizzly Bears
posted by Sylvia Fallon, 11/18/15

Related Stories

Return of the Black Rhinos
Namibia's black rhinos are now more valuable alive than dead.
In the Bay of Whales
Getting up close and personal with gray whales at Laguna San Ignacio.
Share | |