Utilities Extension Project

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BONNETED BAT


A LEGALLY PROTECTED SPECIES UNDER
STATE AND FEDERAL LAW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Description

The bonneted bat's color varies from black to brown to grayish or cinnamon brown, averaging 6.5 inches in height with a 20 inch wing span. It is the largest species of bat in Florida, weighing in at a mere 1.2 to 1.7 ounces. The bonneted bat is a non-migratory. Like other bats in the family, it is free-tailed, meaning its tail extends well beyond a short tail membrane. Its diet of the bonneted bat primarily consists of flying insects, such as beetles, flies and true bugs.

 

Where They Are Found

The bonneted bat have been detected foraging in native habits including wetlands, semitropical forests with tropical hardwood, pinelands, and mangrove habitats, as well as man-made areas such as golf-courses or neighborhoods. This species may have two breeding seasons each year, which has been documented during June thru September and also January and February.

Because of its extremely limited range and low numbers, the bonneted bat is vulnerable to a wide array of natural and human-related threats. Habitat loss, degradation, and modification from human population growth and the associated development and agriculture are major threats and are expected to further curtail the species' limited range. The effects resulting from climate change, including sea-level rise and coastal squeeze, are expected to become sever in the future and result in additional habitat losses, including the loss of roost sites and foraging habitat.

The effects of small population size, restricted range, few colonies, slow reproduction, low fertility, and relative isolation also contribute to its vulnerability. Other factors may impact the species, such as its removal from buildings or artificial structures being used as roost sites, removal of roost trees, impacts from large intense hurricanes, and pesticides and contaminants from multiple sources that impact both the bat and prey insects.  

Violations of state and federal law are punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.