Bats in Kentucky

Kentucky has 16 native bat species, the most common of which are the Big Brown Bat and the Little Brown Bat. The Hoary Bat is the largest bat seen here, while the Tricolored Bat is the smallest.

Several of Kentucky’s bats are migratory, like the Hoary bat, which migrates south in the winter. Others, like the Indiana Bat, live year-round in Kentucky and hibernate in caves when it gets colder.

Bats in Kentucky (KY)

Different Types of Bats in Kentucky

Free-tailed Bats (Molossidae)

  • Mexican Free-tailed Bat

Vesper Bats (Vespertilionidae)

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

Places To Go Bat Watching in Kentucky

Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the largest network of caves in the world. 13 of Kentucky’s native bat species can be found here. However, only 8-9 species utilize the caves, only doing so during the winter while hibernating or during the maternity season. Bats known to do this include the Indiana Bat, the Little Brown Bat, the Northern Long-eared Bat, the Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat, and the Tricolored Bat. Meanwhile, the Eastern Red Bat spends its entire time in the woods, using tree hollows in the summer and leaf litter in the winter. The rare Gray Bat is one of the few that uses the caves year-round.


1. Are there any endangered bat species in Kentucky?

 The Virginia Big-eared Bat, a sub-species of the Townsend’s Big-eared Bat, is federally endangered as it can only be found in four US states, including Kentucky. Other at risk bats include the Gray Bat and the Indiana Bat.

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