Mexican Free-tailed Bats are one of Ohio's 13 bat species and can be found throughout Cincinnati, OH.
The Mexican Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) also known as the Brazillian Free-tailed Bat can be found near the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. These bats love to be in caves, mine shafts, and hollow trees. There hasn't been any designation on its conservation here in Ohio as its numbers are too small to make a good designation. But nationwide this bat's conservation status is listed as Least Concern. However, this species is susceptible to white-nose syndrome, and when they appear in larger numbers this can become an issue. White-nose syndrome is caused by a fungus that keeps the bats awake during hibernation causing them to lose their fat storage, leading to death from exhaustion or starvation.
These bats are medium-sized bats with a weight of 1/4 - 1/2 oz, a length of 4 inches, and an average wing span of 12-14 inches. They are best distinguished by their long tail which is half its body length. This bat can reach up to 4 inches long and has short brownish gray or dark brown fur. Although, some individuals will have white patches. This bat's musk is a rather distinct musky odor.
The Mexican Free-tailed Bat can be found in a variety of habitats ranging from deserts to woodland riverbeds but is found more abundantly in leafy forest areas. They tend to form colonies beneath loose bark and cavities of trees but commonly roost in buildings, barns, church steeples, and bridges. Although, in urban habitiats, they are often found colonizing in homes attics. The Mexican Free-tailed Bat can be found as far south as Argentina and Chile, and Cincinnati is its most northern range.
These bats are insectivorous eating insects such as beetles, moths, wasps, and other insects they can catch in flight. Many of the insects they feed on are harmful which makes them very beneficial to the environment. They start hunting early in the evening and do not come back to their cave or dwelling until dawn.
The mating season for the Mexican Free-tailed Bat is assumed to occur in the spring, and they give birth in late May to early June. However, due to the small number recorded any other information involving their mating and breeding is unknown to the state of Ohio.