Bats are found throughout much of North America and in most areas of the United States. Bats can be found in homes, caves, storage sheds, church steeples (“bats in the belfry”), and trees. They prefer safe environments shielded from predators and temperature fluctuations. Bats can survive in very hot areas, even inside buildings.
Bats can be considered colonial or solitary. Colonial bats, or social bats, congregate in groups or colonies. Sometimes these colonies are segregated by gender. For example, sometimes males congregate in one colony while females congregate in separate maternity colonies where they birth and rear their young.
Colonial bats can be found throughout the country. Ranges vary geographically with some examples as follows:
- The Little Brown Bat is found in the lower half of Canada and Alaska, as well as the upper half of the mainland United States. The range extends further south to Mexico in the west and to Georgia in the east.
- The Big Brown Bat covers virtually all of the mainland United States and Mexico. It is also found in the very lower parts of Canada.
- The Mexican Free-tailed Bat is found in most of Mexico as well as states west of the Mississippi extending as far north as Wyoming.
Solitary bats are those that do not normally have colonies. They might aggregate with others during birthing, but there is no real colony. The ranges of these bats vary geographically as well as shown by the following examples:
- The Evening Bat is found in most of the eastern United States and as far north as the Great Lakes.
- The Silver Haired Bat is found in all of the mainland United States except Florida.
- The Hoary Bat is found in all mainland states of the United States.
- Keen’s Bat is found from the Midwestern states to the east coast as far north as southern Canada and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.
Bats enjoy a wide geographical range. As their predominant food is insects for the majority of species, bats can be found anywhere there is an ample supply of insects and acceptable weather.