Bats in Alabama

With over 6,000 caves within its forests and karst topography, Alabama is suitable for bats to thrive. 16 native bat species have been recorded in the state, most belonging to the vespertilionid family. 

Common bats in Alabama include the Little Brown Bat, the Mexican Free-tailed Bat, the Big Brown Bat, and the Evening Bat. The state is home to giant bats like the Hoary Bat, which has a wingspan of 13-16 inches. The Big Brown Bat also has a similar wingspan. On the other hand, Alabama also is home to some of the smallest bats in the US, like the Eastern Small-footed Bat with its 8-9 inch long wings.

Bats in Alabama (AL)

Different Types of Bats in Alabama

Free-tailed Bats (Molossidae)

  • Mexican Free-tailed Bat

Vesper Bats (Vespertilionidae)

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

Places To Go Bat Watching in Alabama

Several places in Alabama have become well-known sites for bat-watching. For instance, Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Jackson County has the highest number of gray bats in the entire state – over 250,000. This is notable as its population has declined by 95% and only hibernates in 15 caves throughout the country. Other caves where they can be found include Blowing Spring Cave Preserve in Lauderdale County (8,000-10,000) and Hambrick Cave in Marshall County (60,000).

Cathedral Caverns State Park in Marshall County is an excellent place to see species other than the gray bat. The tricolored bat is common here, though the big brown bat is also seen regularly.

Not all of these locations allow the public to enter, though. But it is possible to see emerging and exiting bats from the entrances of these caves.


1. Are any bats living in Alabama at risk of extinction?

Three of the bats in Alabama are protected under the Endangered Species Act – the Gray Bat, the Indiana Bat, and the Northern Long-eared Myotis.

2. Is it illegal to kill bats in Alabama?

Yes, as bats are protected under the Alabama Nongame Wildlife Program. An expert should be called to remove any bats that enter houses as pests.

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