Bats in Florida

Despite being a hotspot of biodiversity, there are only 13 bats native to Florida. However, the largest one – the Florida Bonneted Bat – can only be found in Florida and nowhere else. Meanwhile, the smallest bat in the state is the Tricolored bat.

The most common bat in Florida is the Mexican Free-tailed Bat, which can often be seen roosting in bat houses throughout the state. It is also worth mentioning that while it isn’t an official Florida species – the Jamaican Fruit Bat has been spotted in the Florida Keys, making it the sole fruit bat recorded in the United States.

Bats in Florida (FL)

Different Types of Bats in Florida

Free-tailed Bats (Molossidae)

  • Florida Bonneted Bat
  • Mexican Free-tailed Bat
  • Velvety Free-tailed Bat

Vesper Bats (Vespertilionidae)

  • Big Brown Bat
  • Eastern Red Bat
  • Evening Bat
  • Gray Bat
  • Hoary Bat
  • Northern Yellow Bat
  • Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat
  • Seminole Bat
  • Southeastern Myotis
  • Tricolored Bat

Places To Go Bat Watching in Florida

The best place to see bats in caves in Florida is in Florida Caverns State Park in the northern part of the state. However, inexperienced spelunkers and explorers may end up disturbing these creatures during the day when they are resting. 

An alternative involves the construction of bat houses – structures high up from the ground that get plenty of sunlight during the day. The most well-known of these is located at the University of Florida in Gainesville, home to over 100,000 bats. Species seen here include the Evening Bat, the Southeastern Myotis, and several species of free-tailed bats.


1. Are bats in Florida dangerous?

No, but if a bat is seen during the day, it should be avoided as it might have rabies.

2. Are bats federally protected in Florida?

Yes. This is necessary as two species living in Florida – the Florida Bonneted Bat and the Gray Bat – are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

3. Are there bats in South Florida?

Of the 13 species living in the state, 8 are in South Florida. This even includes the endemic Florida Bonneted Bat.

4. Do bats hibernate in Florida?

The climate of Florida leans towards being more temperate, so it is more likely they will remain active year-round.

5. Do vampire bats live in Florida?

There are no vampire bats in Florida, i.e., members of the family Phyllostomidae.

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