Bats in California

Though rarely visible, bats can be found all over California. There are over 20 native specimens recorded here, from the small Canyon Bat with a wingspan of 7.5-8.5 inches to the Western Mastiff Bat, the largest bat in North America, which has wings that are each about 11 inches long. The most common of these is the Mexican Free-tailed Bat, which roosts in various places like caves, trees, and even buildings.

Bats in California (CA)

Different Types of Bats in California

Free-tailed Bats (Molossidae)

  • Big Free-tailed Bat
  • Mexican Free-tailed Bat
  • Pocketed Free-tailed Bat
  • Western Mastiff Bat

New World Leaf-nosed Bats (Phyllostomidae)

  • California Leaf-nosed Bat
  • Mexican Long-tongued Bat

Vesper Bats (Vespertilionidae)

  • Allen’s Big-eared Bat
  • Arizona Myotis
  • Big Brown Bat
  • California Myotis
  • Canyon Bat
  • Cave Myotis
  • Fringed Myotis
  • Hoary Bat
  • Little Brown Bat
  • Long-eared Myotis
  • Long-legged Myotis
  • Pallid Bat
  • Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat
  • Silver-haired Bat
  • Spotted Bat
  • Townsend’s Big-eared Bat
  • Western Red Bat
  • Western Small-footed Myotis
  • Western Yellow Bat
  • Yuma Myotis

Places To Go Bat Watching in California

In California, some of the best places to see bats in their natural habitats include Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis and Lava Beds National Monument, Tulelake, Siskiyou County. In these sites, it is possible to see bats emerging at dusk as they go out to hunt.


1. Are bats protected in California? 

All bats are protected species. Without a license from the United States Department of Fish and Game, it is illegal to kill bats in California.

2. Are bats legal pets in California?

Owning a bat is illegal in California, as it can spread diseases like rabies.

3. Do bats in California have rabies?

Yes. As a matter of fact, bats, along with skunks, have the highest rabies infection rate in California.

4. Do bats hibernate in California?

Bats like the Little Brown Bat in northern California are known to hibernate. But those in warmer parts of the state do not hibernate.

5. Are there fruit bats in California?

There are no fruit bats, i.e., members of the family of Megabats living in California.

6. What do California bats eat?

All the bats living in the state are insectivorous.

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