In the United States, the mammals favor temperate climates. However, they can live wherever a steady supply of food exists. Roosting requirements usually depend on the species, but caves, trees, hollowed logs, rock crevices, and human dwellings serve as excellent habitats.
Favorite habitats include tropical forests, woodlands, open fields, both suburban and urban communities, and even deserts.
Bats in Trees
Bats inhabit trees throughout various regions of the United States. Bats in trees use the surrounding areas to hunt for food. For instance, red bats use the canopy as camouflage, as the animals’ rusty color makes them look like dying leaves. Some bat species fly around tree canopies while catching insects in flight in order to feed. Bats primarily use trees as areas to roost and build nests. Bats will rest in the hollow of a tree, the canopy itself, or under the bark when it becomes loose.
Bats leave plenty of evidence for property owners. For one, seeing the animal flying around treetops and into trees directly tends to be the most common sign. Such behavior occurs in the evening, which makes sighting bats difficult. In such cases, finding bat droppings at the base of a tree is a sure way to know that at least one of the animals is roosting on your property. Noticing missing or damaged bark can also be a sign that bats in trees are present.
Bats in Attics
When bats enter homes, usually either to hibernate or rest, they prefer to congregate in secluded locations like chimneys and attics. The latter is a particularly popular choice as it provides the warmth and shelter necessary for rearing young pups. Bats gain access to homes through gaps in roof shingles, mortar, windows, doors, and home ventilation systems.
When bats are born, the pups are blind and helpless. Female bats gather in warm areas, such rafters, and attics, to form maternal colonies. A baby bat clings to its mother fiercely at first, and the mother only leaves for short periods in the evening to hunt.
As pups grow and develop, mothers slowly increase their hunting time to wean their offspring. Once the baby bats are about five weeks old, they begin to fly and hunt but may still nurse until they can feed on their own.
Bat Life Expectancy
Most bats live less than 20 years in the wild, but six species can live more than 30 years! In 2006, this tiny bat made it to 41 years and set a record for the oldest bat.
Some bats return to the safe roost year after year. So if you have bats in your attic, it might turn into a 30 year problem