Bats are among the most imperiled mammals. In Illinois, there are 13 species, 6 of which are currently protected as endangered or threatened.

Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii)
Southeastern Myotis (Myotis austroriparius)
Gray Bat (Myotis grisescens)
Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)

Eastern Small-footed Bat (Myotis leibii)
Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

Illinois bats are insectivores which makes them economically important to Illinois agriculture. It takes a lot of insects to generate the energy needed to fly around – some bats eat over 1000 insects in an hour!

As temperatures drop, their insect prey become harder to find. Read more about how bats survive the winter.

People often think that all bats have rabies. In reality very few individuals have rabies, unfortunately, those that do tend to act strangely, and may be more likely to be picked up by a person. If you see a bat, do not pick it up! If there is a chance you have been bitten by the bat, seek medical attention.

Skeleton of a bat

Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health for more information on rabies.

Visit the Illinois Bat Conservation Program to learn more about bats.

Back to Mammals