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Brazilian free-tailed bat
Tadarida brasiliensis

The Brazilian free-tailed bat is a medium sized bat growing up to 4.25" long with a wingspan of up to 12" and they can weigh up to 1/2 of an ounce. The most abundant bat in the southwest.

Mostly found roosting in colonies in caves, mine shafts, wells, hollow trees, bridges, buildings. 300,000 of these bats can be seen at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico where they emerge nightly from May to September. In fact, the caves were discovered after someone spotted the huge 'tornado' of bats emerging from the caves opening. Brazilian free-tailed bats feed on insects, especially moths, ants, beetles, and leafhoppers captured in their tail membrane.

Bats are the only members of the mammal family that can fly. Like all mammals they have fur and are warm blooded. They also give live birth and produce milk for their babies. Bats are in the scientific order Chiroptera (kie-rop-ter-a), which means 'hand-wing' and are known to live from 10 to 32 years. The Brazilian free-tailed bat has been known to live up to 18 years.

While most people generally think of bats living in caves, in the summer time bats actually live behind bark, in tree's, jungles, and man made structures such as buildings, barns, and bridges. 

Bats provide an extremely important service for the environment in that they eat large quantities insects. In fact some bats can eat as many as 1,200 insects in one hour. Since some insects such as misquotes carry diseases including the West Nile Virus and other insects like Cucumber Beatles and moths can cause severe crop damage, bats are doing humans a huge favor as well.

Bat Facts:

• There are more than 1,100 bat species.
• 70% of bats are insectivores.
• Bats make up almost 25% of all mammal species.
• a single brown bat can catch more than 1,200 insects per hour

Related Links & Resources:
Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat Study Marks Favored Habitats
Indiana Bat Tests Positive For White-nosed Fungus
Big Brown Bat
White-nose Syndrome

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