If you’ve been following the Adirondack Bats series then you know a little more about bats and why they are nothing to be afraid of. Though of course wild bats should not be handled!
Now let’s get a little more familiar with the particular bats that are our neighbors in the Adirondacks. So, which out of the hundreds of bat species in the world do populate the Adirondacks?
According to the New York Department of Conservation only nine species of bats make their homes in our state. Of these bat species that live throughout New York, they are divided into two types: cave bats and tree bats.
Cave bats “spend the winter hibernating in caves and mines where they live off stored fat reserves. However, during the summer they live in a variety of places, including bridges, buildings, rock crevices, beneath loose bark, or in cracks or crevices in trees. Cave bats are identified by the lack of fur on their tail membranes and their rather plain brownish coloring.” (NYDEC)
New York’s Cave Bats:
- Northern Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)
- Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
- Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)
- Eastern Pipistrelle aka Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)
- Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
- Small-footed Bat (Myotis leibii) [NY’s smallest bat pictured above!]
Tree bats are migratory and, like their name implies, live year round in trees. Instead of hibernating they fly south in winter to warmer temperatures.
These bats are more colorful than the generally brown cave bats, and they have “fully furred tail membranes which they can curl up around their bodies like a blanket” (NYDEC).
These species are harder to study because tree bats do not typically enter caves or mines or form large colonies, so we know less about them (NYDEC).
New York’s Tree Bats:
- Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)
- Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) [NY’s largest bat pictured above!]
- Silver-haired Bat (Lasyionicterius noctivagans)
Below is a video of New York’s most common bat: the Little Brown Bat!
I’m pretty sure that this is the type of bat that I see around my house in the summer. Several of them live in our old chimney. Of course I only see them at night, and they fly pretty fast, so I’ve never gotten a good look.
I definitely haven’t seen any of the more exotic looking New York bat species though…Click through the bats in the listings above to check them all out for yourself!
Though I have had encounters with what I assume were Little Brown Bats where the bat had gotten closer to me than I liked.
2 Bats in the House
Once three summers ago a bat flew right through the open door of my kitchen! It flew around the ceiling a bit while the dogs were going crazy and barking, and people tried to catch it to shoo it out. On its own it managed to fly right back out the door after a few minutes. Lots of drama for a little bat! This encounter was humorous, but the next was more startling for me…
The very next week another bat got into the house! I don’t know how this one got in. I was the only one awake that night, and as I was reading on the couch the bat shocked me by flying into the room! It flew around the house in a loop, and it startled me by getting close a couple of times.
Eventually it flew upstairs and I never saw it again! I didn’t see its body anywhere, but no one saw it fly around in the house again either…I don’t know how it got out of the house, or if perhaps it was caught by one of our cats?
Those were the only times bats ever got into the house, but it was very strange to have it happen two times in a row like that.
Share Your Bat Stories
So do any of you have bat encounter stories? Please feel free to share them here!
Nancy Castillo says
Here’s a story of a bat that entered my house: http://wildbirdsunlimited.typepad.com/the_zen_birdfeeder/2012/08/my-batty-room-mate.html
I love having bats around! Every year babies are born in the roof line of my two story garage.
Last summer a baby bat squeezed in through a small crack in my bedroom window screen. It was 2:00 AM and I heard and felt the breeze of it’s wings flap close to my face. I knew right away what it was and I was out of there lickety split with the door closed behind me!
What to do then…..I got my bee suit on! Made it my bat suit! I went back into the room as it was going around and around the room frantically. I opened the two windows all the way and took the screens off to shew the poor thing out. Funny thing though the mother bat was outside and I could see her flying back and forth right outside the window. I finally got the baby on the screen and carefully and slowly put the screen out the window for him to fly off.
They are amazing little creatures!
John Perillat says
I was eleven years old in 1971 living in the Catskill mountains of upstate New York.
An outdoor paradise for a young boy to explore the outdoors from sun up (or earlier) to sunset often spending the night outside camping.
Hiking and fishing with my brother and finding numerous treasures throughout the seasons.
We lived in-between to reservoirs the Alcove and the Basic.
This is a story of the Basic Reservoir.
The Basic reservoir is used for water for Southern New York, a catwalk leading to the pump house
extends from the shoreline estimated to be about 30 yards from shore.
On land was a double steel door which was always padlocked leading down into the aqueduct
One summer day, perhaps in August my younger brother Daniel ,my next older brother William and one of his good friends Eddie all made our way to the reservoir for a day of exploring and fishing.
And what to our wondering eyes should appear! the padlock was open on the steel doors leading down, underground, out under the reservoir to the pump station.
The pump station door was locked and all the windows boarded up and these young boys wanted to know what was inside.
After contemplating who would venture into the abyss, it was decided that my two brothers would stay atop to keep a watchful eye out for .authorities.
Climbing down the ladder and once inside , my brothers closed the doors.
Eddy had brought a pack of matches ,and with every flick of light descending the ladder cobwebs glowed and spiders scurried as did the rats in the puddles below inside the aqueduct.
Stepping off the ladder and into the stagnant water, matches did little to illuminate our feet for which I am certain we were both grateful for.
It seemed like an eternity, clutching this Fourteen year old and following in his footsteps to reach the ladder leading up and into the pump house above.
Climbing up the ladder and away from the rats scurrying past our feet and constantly brushing away the spiderwebs, we made it to the trap door at the floor of the pump house.
We Made it.
Standing now inside the pump house, still in complete darkness, and Eddies matches dwindling rapidly, we made our way to the front door.
Outside I could hear my two brothers fishing on the catwalk, fumbling at the lock of the door, click! It was unlocked!
I pushed the door open, and with that first shimmer of light entering the pump house, a thousand bats swooped down out of the ceiling and fluttering in a mass exodus made their way out the front door.
I was the only obstacle.
I cannot tell you how many bats covered my body. Back then I had long hair, as most young boys at the time ,and they were doing their best to hide from the sun in my mop.
I ran down that catwalk screaming and yanking and tossing bats left and right , from my hair and my clothes they were everywhere.
My brothers ran screaming as well, afraid they would cover them as well but nary a bat was seen on either of them.
As for Eddie, exploring the interior of the pump house, Not a bat to be seen on him. I believe he was oblivious to what had occurred at that front door, being toward the back of the room.
Obviously, my fear of bats extended for years.
Caving in the Adirondacks in my twenties I would come across bats clinging to walls and maneuver myself as far as possible to keep great distances between our worlds.
Today I find myself enjoying these winged marvels making a return to the Adirondack mountains
after white nose decimated them.
I have never dressed as batman for Halloween.
I do enjoy seeing bats swooping over the lake, making visits around the camp fires, I just never want to have them perch on me again.