The Mexican Free-tailed Bat is widely regarded as one of the most abundant mammals in North America and is not on any federal lists. However, its proclivity towards roosting in large numbers in relatively few roosts makes it especially vulnerable to human disturbance and habitat destruction. Documented declines at some roosts are cause for concern. It is considered a Species of Special Concern due to declining populations and limited distribution in Utah. While being one of the most numerous mammals in North America, the whereabouts and status of winter populations of these animals is still largely unknown.
Ten Facts about Brazilian Free-tailed Bat
- Their bodies are about 9 cm (3.5 in) in length, and they weigh about 12.3 g (0.43 oz). Their ears are wide and set apart to help them find prey with echolocation. The fur color varies from dark brown to gray.
- Most of these bats migrate south to Central America and Mexico during the winter.
- Mexican free-tails prefer to roost in caves, but will also choose attics, under bridges, or in abandoned buildings. They choose roosts near water. The water attracts the insects they eat, as well as allowing them the opportunity to drink.
- Mexican free-tails are found in the western United States, south through Mexico, Central America and into northern South America.
- Free-tail bats consume enormous amounts of moths and other insects. Some roosts are known to contain millions of bats. In those colonies it is estimated that 250 tons of insects can be consumed every night.
- Snakes, raccoons, house cats, owls, and other predators sometimes manage to gain access to the roosts. If a baby falls to the cave floor the mother will not come to its rescue giving predators a chance for a quick meal.
- These bats may have a life span of up to 18 years.
- The densest concentrations of free-tailed bats are found living in Bracken Cave near San Antonio, Texas. There colonies can number over 20,000,000.
- Mexican fee-tailed bats are the "jets" of the bat world. They are very fast flyers.
- A single free-tail baby bat is born during the summer. Young Mexican free-tailed bats roost separately from their mothers. Babies roost in the highest reaches of the cave, where temperatures are the warmest. The warm conditions are essential for rapid growth and survival. In the large maternity colonies of Mexican free-tails, the mother must find her own pup among the thousands. It is thought that she locates her baby by recognizing its individual call.