Florida Bonneted Bat
Click on the different body parts.
America's Rarest Bat
The Florida bonneted bat is a federally endangered species found nowhere in the world but south and central Florida. They are believed to occur in just 14 counties: Miami - Dade, Monroe, Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Glades, Charlotte, Okeechobee, Highlands, Desoto, Sarasota, Osceola, and Polk.
Named for the way its ears form a fetching cowl over its inquisitive, long-snouted face, the velvet-coated bonneted bat is Florida’s largest—but also its rarest. The ears of these bats are broad and forward-facing, giving their heads the appearance of a bonnet. The ears are not fully separated, they are joined at the base. These funnel-shaped ears point forward allowing them to detect insects at long range.
The bonneted bat is Insectivorous. It eats a variety of insects such as beetles, flies, and true bugs.
Bat calls (high-pitched chirps and squeaks) can sometimes be heard during the day.
The bonneted bat is Florida’s largest Chiropteran species, with a wingspan of up to 20 inches. The bonneted bat typically leaves its roosts shortly after sunset. At night the bats fly high in the sky, feeding on insects.
The Florida bonneted bat has an average of 6-inch in length. These are the largest bats east of the Mississippi River. Each bat is about the size of a standard iPhone when at rest. During the day, they sleep beneath barrel tile roofs, in live and dead palm trees and pine tree cavities, and in bat houses.
These bats sleep upside down hanging by their legs.
Florida bonneted bats have tails that extend about an inch beyond their tail membrane.
Binomial: Eumops Floridanus
Family: Molossidae (free-tailed bats)
Colony size: Small - individuals to several dozen
Wingspan: 20 inches (51 cm)
Region: Southern Florida
Found a sick or injured bat?
Contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
If you suspect a person or pet has been bitten or scratched by a bat, or you have found a bat in your home (especially in a child's bedroom), immediately contact your county health department. Never directly handle bats.
Florida Bonneted Bats are endemic to southern Florida, and are found mainly in Miami, Coral Gables, and Fort Lauderdale areas. Florida Bonneted Bats are among the largest bats found in North America, ranging in size from 40 to 65 grams, with wingspans up to 20 inches. The large, forward-facing ears on these bats give them the appearance of wearing a bonnet. Florida Bonneted Bats are insectivores and capture insect prey in flight. Their echolocation calls are relatively low frequency (10-25 kilohertz) within the hearing range of humans.
Florida Bonneted Bats forage in a variety of habitats including pine and hardwood forests as well as agricultural areas, golf courses, and neighborhoods. They roost in natural pine tree cavities, under roofing tiles, and in bat houses. Colonies are generally small (around 10 individuals), that often consist of one male and several females.
With a limited geographic range and small population size, Florida Bonneted Bats are vulnerable to decline from habitat loss and disturbance as well as natural disasters, such as hurricanes.
Largest species of bat in Florida, about the size of a chipmunk
Feeds on insects protecting our crops and lowering pesticide use
Has low reproductive capacity, giving birth to only 1 pup per breeding season
Loss of habitat is their biggest threat, including the destruction of natural roost sites and natural disasters such as hurricanes
The Miami Bat Lab at Zoo Miami is founded by Bat Conservation International.
We protect the Florida Bonneted Bat by:
Gaining knowledge to protect this species.
- Identify habitat areas that are prime for roosting sites
- Understand the diet of urban-based Florida bonneted bats
- Understand how noise and light pollution impact bat populations
Raising awareness based on our research.
- Help the public understand how everyday activities can impact structures where these amazing creatures roost
- Generate support for bat houses in public spaces
- Conserve open foraging space
Creating safe habitats.
- Research new bat house designs for urban environments
- Reduce everyday disturbances and decrease conflicts with homeowners by installing specially designed bat houses in public spaces
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The Miami Bat Lab is a partnership of:
“The importance of the partnership between Zoo Miami and Bat Conservation International cannot be overstated. By combining their unique resources, they have created a role model for conservation efforts to better understand and protect this critically endangered species for future generations.”