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Mexican Free-tailed Bat

Tadarida brasiliensis

Mexican free-tailed bats are one of the most widespread bats in the western hemisphere.

They are a small, conspicuous bat with narrow black wings and a short tail membrane. One of the most gregarious bats in Florida, this species is common in cities and suburbs and roosts in attics, caves, culverts and palm trees. In some parts of the western USA, free-tailed bat colonies consist of millions of individuals, but in Florida colonies usually contain a few hundred to a thousand bats. Free-tailed bats emerge from their roost shortly after sunset. On cold nights they may forage for a few hours and the return to the roost; on warm nights they often fly until 4 am. They feed on small moths, beetles, winged ants and mosquitoes, and are considered to be of great economic importance because they are major insect predators.

These bats have been implicated in several incidences of human rabies infection. NEVER touch or pick up any bat.

ID tip. Mexican free-tails are very rapid fliers with a hard-to-follow erratic flight pattern.


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