Get ready to celebrate our world’s only flying mammal! Every year on April 17, conservationists and nature enthusiasts around the globe come together to recognize International Bat Appreciation Day. Of the over 1400 species of bats on our planet, 10 species call Ohio home. All our native bats are microbats—small, insect eating bats ranging in size from 2.5 to 6 inches long in body length. Of these 10 species, 6 of them have been hibernating through the winter in caves and abandoned mines. These include the tri-colored bat (Ohio’s smallest bat), the northern long-eared bat, big brown bat, little brown bat, small-footed bat, and Indiana bat (federally endangered). Meanwhile, the remaining 4 species will be returning from a southern migration. In spring and summer months we will see these species, which include the red bat, evening bat, silver-haired bat, and the hoary bat (the largest Ohio bat).
Many folks are familiar with and have bird houses on their property, but we would love to see more bat houses in our communities. Bat houses provided shelter space for bats and roosts where moms can raise their young pups in maternity colonies. To attract bats, you can plant night blooming flowers which will bring the insect food supply bats need.
For ideas on bat houses and more bat facts, check out the Ohio Bat Working Group website at https://u.osu.edu/obwg/