Bats in South Dakota

13 species of bats are native to South Dakota. They can be seen in the various caves throughout the state, though several bats also make the woods their home. The largest is the Hoary Bat, while the Tricolored Bat is the smallest.

Bats in South Dakota (SD)

Different Types of Bats in South Dakota

Vesper Bats (Vespertilionidae)

  • Big Brown Bat
  • Eastern Red Bat
  • Evening Bat
  • Fringed Myotis
  • Hoary Bat
  • Keen’s Myotis
  • Little Brown Bat
  • Long-eared Myotis
  • Long-legged Myotis
  • Silver-haired Bat
  • Townsend’s Big-eared Bat
  • Tricolored Bat
  • Western Small-footed Myotis

Places To Go Bat Watching in South Dakota

Badlands National Park is a rugged terrain encompassing around 240,000 acres. Despite water scarcity being an issue, several bats are living here – the most common being the Big Brown Bat and the Silver-haired Bat.

Jewel Cave National Monument is home to 9 bat species, with the Townsend’s Big-eared Bat being the most visible. There has been a sharp decline in the population of several species living here, which might result from White-nose Syndrome.

There are also several caves within the Black Hills where it is possible to see the Fringed Myotis, the Little Brown Bat, and the Long-legged Myotis.


1. Is it illegal to kill bats in South Dakota?

Bats enjoy a certain degree of protection in South Dakota as a nongame species. They cannot be killed except when they enter houses, but even then, capturing and relocating them is recommended.

2. Do bats hibernate in South Dakota?

Cave-dwelling species, like the Big Brown Bat, prefer hibernating in South Dakota, while those that live in trees, like the Eastern Red Bat, will try to migrate to warmer climates.

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