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Species: Bats

Protection Level
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Federally Protected Yes
State Protected Yes
VA Nuisance Species No

 


There are 16 species of bats in Virginia. Three (Gray Bat, Indiana Bat, and Virginia-Big-eared Bat) are federally endangered. Three (Eastern-Big-eared Bat, Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat, and Eastern Small-footed Myotis) are federal species of concern and the remaining 10 are non-game protected species in Virginia.

To help identify the species of bat you may have use the county occurrence map for each species. The county occurrence maps represent counties that have been documented to contain that particular species. The occurrence maps do not indicate the only areas that a particular species may be found but they are a good way to identify the species that you are likely to have. Pay particular attention to the threatened and endangered species, management options may be limited due to federal and state laws. The Big Brown Bat, Evening Bat, and Little Brown Bat are the three bat species in Virginia that are most likely to take residence in a building.

Identification    
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Virginia Big-eared Bat
Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus

More Photos

Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus
[© Kent Woodruff]
county distribution map for Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus

Eastern Big-eared Bat Corynorhinus rafinesquii macrotis

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Corynorhinus rafinesquii macrotis
[© Steve Shively]
county distribution map for Corynorhinus rafinesquii macrotis

Eastern Red Bat
Lasiurus borealis

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Lasiurus borealis

county distribution map for Lasiurus borealis

 

Indiana Bat
Myotis sodalis

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Myotis sodalis
[© John R. Omer]

county distribution map for Myotis sodalis

Evening Bat
(likely building inhabitant)
Nycticeius humeralis

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Nycticeius humeralis

county distribution map for Nycticeius humeralis

Eastern Pipistrelle
Pipistrellus subflavus

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Pipistrellus subflavus county distribution map for Pipistrellus subflavus

Eastern Small-footed Myotis
Myotis leibii

More Photos

 

county distribution map for Myotis leibii

Gray Bat
Myotis grisescens

More Photos

  county distribution map for Myotis grisescens

Hoary Bat
Lasiurus cinereus

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county distribution map for Lasiurus cinereus

Little Brown Bat
(likely building inhabitant)
Myotis lucifugus

More Photos

  county distribution map for Myotis lucifugus

Northern Myotis
Myotis septentrionalis

More Photos

  county distribution map for Myotis septentrionalis

Northern Yellow Bat
Lasiurus intermedius

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  county distribution map for Lasiurus intermedius

Silver-haired Bat
Lasionycteris noctivagans

More Photos

  county distribution map for Lasionycteris noctivagans

Southeastern Myotis
Myotis austroriparius

More Photos

  county distribution map for Myotis austroriparius

Seminole Bat
Lasiurus seminolus

More Photos

  county distribution map for Lasiurus seminolus

Big Brown Bat
(likely building inhabitant)
Eptesicus fuscus

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county distribution map for Eptesicus fuscus

Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat
Corynorhinus rafinesquii rafinesquii                                                                  

More Photos

county distribution map for Corynorhinus rafinesquii rafinesquii

     

 


Legal    
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In Virginia bats are not considered a game species or a fur-bearing species. This means that a bat may be killed if it is deemed as being a nuisance to a homeowner. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) defines nuisance as “species found committing or about to commit depredation upon ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, wildlife, livestock or other property or when concentrated in numbers and manners as to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance. However, the term nuisance does not include animals designated as endangered or threatened. The mere presence of a bat does not constitute it as a nuisance.

There are three species of bats in Virginia that are Federally endangered and are therefore protected under the Endangered Species Act which explicitly prohibits anyone from attempting to “harass , harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct” any endangered or threatened species. The three endangered species of bat in Virginia are Gray, Indiana, and Virginia Big-Eared. Before implementing any control technique, ensure that your problem bat is not one of these three endangered species.

Other legal aspects that the homeowner needs to know is that it is illegal to poison any animal (including bats) with the exception of mice and rats found in a dwelling 4VAC15-40-50. It is also illegal to transport any bat species therefore making it is illegal to relocate any species of bat other than on the property that it was caught 4VAC15-30-50.

In Virginia it is illegal to

  • transport, release, or relocate a bat anywhere other than the property it was caught on 4VAC15-30-50, and
  • poison any animal (including bat) other than rats and mice on your property 4VAC15-40-50.

It is a Federal offense to

  • “harass , harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” any endangered or threatened species. (Endangered Species Act)

Management Options
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The best and only good way to remove bats from a structure is to exclude the bats from the building. If bats are found in a building their access point can be located by viewing the structure in the evenings when the bats vacate to feed. Once the source of entrance is located the access point can be sealed off to prevent the bats from reentering the structure. It is very important to ensure that all bats have left the structure before closing it off. Listed in the links below are directions for excluding bats from an entrance by creating one-way exit. Using this technique ensures that all bats have vacated the structure before sealing up the access point. Another benefit of this technique is that it allows for removal without the homeowner coming in contact with the animal. There are other myths for removal such as mothballs but these techniques have proved to be useless.

Other Sources

Bats, Purdue Cooperative Extension

Bat Conservation International

Best Practices for Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators in New York State

Controlling Bats Texas A&M Cooperative Extension

Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife, Maryland Cooperative Extension (need to scroll to appropriate species)

Got Bugs? Get Bats. Maryland Cooperative Extension

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage-1994

 

Life History
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Life History information can be found at the Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service Web page.

Big Brown Bat
Eastern Big-eared Bat
Eastern Red Bat
Evening Bat
Eastern Small-footed Myotis
Eastern pipistrelle
Gray Bat
Hoary Bat
Indiana Bat
Little Brown Bat
Northern Myotis
Northern Yellow Bat
Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat
Seminole Bat
Silver-haired Bat
Southeastern Myotis
Virginia Big-eared Bat


Disease
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There are many diseases that wildlife species are capable of carrying and transferring to humans (zoonotic diseases). While all zoonotic diseases are a serious threat to humans this website will only address those that are a concern for Virginia residents.

Histoplasmosis - A lung infection caught by inhaling mold spores that grow on bird and bat droppings.

Rabies