Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

Category:

Actual Size: 3.5” in length with a wingspan of 12–14”

Characteristics: Medium sized bats with red to dark brown dur. Black forward-pointing ears and wrinkled lips. Their wings are long and narrow and they have long tails.

Habits: 

  • Migrate south during the winter
  • Roost in caves, attics, abandoned buildings, and near water
  • Consume moths and other insects

OVERVIEW

The Mexican free-tailed bat is most known for its large colony numbers: some roosts are known to contain millions of bats! Free-tailed bats are named as such for their tails, which extend more than a third of the way beyond the tail membranes. They are known as extremely fast flyers–in fact, it has been claimed that they have the fastest horizontal speed of an animal. Their large ears aid in finding prey using echolocation.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat Habitat

Mexican free-tailed bats are usually found in the southern half of the U.S. and are known to hibernate south for the winter. They prefer to roost in caves but are infamous for taking up residence in buildings of any type if there are dark recesses in ceilings or walls. Some bats actually prefer man-made buildings and they ideally congregate near water, which provides them with the types of insects they prefer.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

These bats tend to catch their prey (insects) in flight. They begin to feed after dusk and fly at the highest altitudes of all bats. Like other types of bats, they use echolocation for navigation and to locate their prey. The biggest threat of these bats is the sheer number in which they roost. If they choose buildings to roost inside of, this can be very dangerous for any nearby people. Like other bats, it’s important to never approach or attempt to handle one on your own.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat Prevention

To keep Mexican free-tailed bats out of your home, it’s important to know how to seal your property. Replace old and ill-fitting screens or shillings, and thoroughly inspect your property for other openings. Bats are smaller than you think and can fit into the tiniest of openings. Also consider stuffing steel or copper wire mesh around pipes entering your home. This can prevent entry. If you notice a bat has made its way into your building, never approach it or attempt to handle it yourself. Always call a professional pest control company.