Erecting a bat house on your property provides a safe roosting area for bats. This bat house plan was designed by Minnesota DNR Wildlife Manager Earl Johnson. So it’s called the “Johnson bat house. You can download this bat house plan and build your own, or you can visit one of the links below for information about where to buy one.
There are more than 1,116 species of bats world- wide with new species being discovered all over the world. About half of these bats are currently at risk. Bats range in size from the smallest mammal, the bumblebee bat from Thailand, weighing less than a penny, to the giant flying fox of Indonesia with a wingspan of 6 feet. That span is equivalent to a male Bald Eagle. In the United States we have 46 species of bats. In Missouri we have 16 species. The smallest two bats in Missouri are the tri-colored bat and small-footed bat, weighing 4 grams with a wingspan of 9 inches. The largest bat in Missouri is the hoary bat, weighing 35 grams with a wingspan of 16 inches. Bats belong in the order Chiroptera, from the Greek word meaning “hand-wing”. Bats are broken down into two groups; mega bats and micro bats. Micro bats make up 90% of bats. They have small eyes and most navigate using echolocation. All bats found in Missouri are micro-bats. Mega-bats are the fruit bats and flying foxes. They have large eyes, some have a keen sense of smell, and most do not use echolocation to locate food. Bats have amazingly long life spans. The little brown bat found here in Missouri has been known to live up to 34 years. The longest record for a wild bat was a Brandt’s bat that lived 41 years.
Meet Our Resident Bats
You can learn more about bats in general, and meet World Bird Sanctuary’s two resident Straw-colored Fruit Bats,
Batty & Scar by visiting our Nature Center.
Why Bats Are Important
Bat populations in the United States and Europe are currently being decimated by a disease called “White Nose Syndrome.” There is very little known about the disease, but it causes bats to wake during hibernation, making them use up precious energy. They therefore die of starvation. Bats are worth approximately $53 billion to the agricultural crop industry, eating tons of agricultural pests every year. This massive decline in bats will have a significant impact on the food industry, impacting consumers where they can afford least, with rising food prices, as farmers are forced to use chemical pesticides to preserve their crops.