Free-Tailed Bat

Basic Information


The free-tailed bats are generally quite robust and are strong fliers with relatively long narrow wings. They are widespread, being found on every continent except Antarctica. The family name is derived from a length of “free” tail, projecting beyond the end of the uropatagium (the membrane that connects the base of the tail to the hind legs). The tail is usually best seen when resting and extends more than 1/3 beyond the tail membrane. They are usually gray, brown, or black in color, although there are some exceptions. They have broad black forward pointing ears. Free-tailed bats roost in caves, attics, under bridges or abandoned buildings, and generally choose a roost near water. The water attracts the insects they eat, like mosquitoes. This species is very important for the control of pest-insect populations. Unfortunately, its populations have fallen because of the use of pesticides and the destruction of their roosting caves

Fun Facts


When baby free-tail bats are born, their mothers leave them behind in the cave while she goes out to hunt insects. You would expect that a mother bat would have trouble locating her own baby (called a pup) among millions of other noisy pups, but it only takes her a few minutes to do so. She remembers where she left her pup, and recognizes its cry and smell.