Where do bats live?

Bats can be found in almost all parts of the world and in most regions of the United States.

In general, bats seek out a variety of daytime retreats such as caves, rock crevices, old buildings, bridges, mines, and trees. Different species require different roost sites. Some species, such as the Mexican free-tailed and gray bats live in large colonies in caves. A few solitary species, such as the red bat, roost in trees.

In winter, bats either hibernate or migrate to warmer areas. Those that hibernate build up a fat reserve to sustain them through the winter. If they’re disturbed, their fat reserve could become exhausted and they could die prior to spring.

Learn more: USGS North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat)

Related Content

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Lava tube opening/possible bat roost with pine forest above.
December 31, 2011

Lava tube opening/possible bat roost with pine forest above.

Opening of a large lava tube at El Malpais National Monument in western New Mexico and likely roost for bats, 2011.

USGS CoreCast
March 30, 2011

Beyond Billions: Threatened Bats are Worth Billions to Agriculture

Insect-eating bats provide pest-control services that save the U.S. agriculture industry over $3 billion per year, according to a study released today in the journal Science. However, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Pretoria in South Africa, University of Tennessee, and Boston University who contributed to the study warn that these valuable

Image: Brown Bat
June 20, 2008

Brown Bat

Little brown bat with fungus on muzzle.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Image: Scientist at Bat Cave
April 2, 2008

Scientist at Bat Cave

USGS wildlife disease specialist Kim Miller outside of an abandoned mine where bats hibernate in New York.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Image: Bat with Radio Transmitter

Bat with Radio Transmitter

USGS biologist Paul Cryan releases a bat carrying a miniature radio transmitter. Researchers are increasingly turning to high-tech methods to try to learn more about the mysterious lives of bats.

Attribution: Ecosystems