Over 1200 species of bats flutter across the skies of the world. Fifteen species of bats live in Oregon and Washington. All of our Pacific Northwest bats are nocturnal insectivores – night-flying insect-eaters – and a handful of those are likely bat house residents:
Pallid Bats (Antrozous pallidus), Brazilian Free-tailed Bats (Tadarida braslliensis), and Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis) are all possible but the Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) and Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifigus) are most likely to use a man-made bat house. Watch for bats in the night sky from April through September. The rest of the year these bat species are either hibernating or have migrated to warmer climates.
• Bats are classified in the order Chiroptera, meaning “winged hand.”
• Smallest bat: Thailand’s Bumblebee Bat has a 6-inch wingspan and weighs less than a penny;
• Largest Bats: Flying Foxes can have wingspans up to 6 feet.
• Most bats eat insects or fruit but a few species also eat fish, mice, and frogs.
• The typical lifespan of our Pacific Northwest bats is about 5-6 years but, one individual Little Brown Myotis is known to have lived 30 years!
• Most bats have only one pup a year. Being warm-blooded mammals they nurse their young.
• Pups develop quickly often learning to fly within about 3 weeks of birth.
• A Chinese tradition is to associate the bat with good luck.