Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)


Indiana bat held in the hand of a reseacher.

Indiana bat with a radio transmitter.

Photo by Adam Mann


Check out the Indiana Bat Facts Calendar!


More Indiana Bat images on Flickr


Status: Endangered, first listed March 11, 1967


Habitat: Summer habitat includes small to medium river and stream corridors with well developed riparian woods; woodlots within 1 to 3 miles of small to medium rivers and streams; and upland forests. Caves and mines as hibernacula.


Range: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia

Lead Region: 3


Region 3 Lead Office:

Bloomington, Indiana Field Office



The Indiana bat was listed as endangered in 1967 due to episodes of people disturbing hibernating bats in caves during winter, resulting in the death of large numbers of bats. Indiana bats are vulnerable to disturbance because they hibernate in large numbers in only a few caves (the largest hibernation caves support from 20,000 to 50,000 bats). Other threats that have contributed to the Indiana bat's decline include commercialization of caves, loss of summer habitat, pesticides and other contaminants, and most recently, the disease white-nose syndrome.


Indiana bats are found over most of the eastern half of the United States. Almost half of them hibernate in caves in southern Indiana. The 2009 population estimate was about 387,000 Indiana bats, less than half as many as when the species was listed as endangered in 1967.


Indiana bats are quite small, weighing only one-quarter of an ounce (about the weight of three pennies) although in flight they have a wingspan of 9 to 11 inches. Their fur is dark-brown to black. They hibernate during winter in caves or, occasionally, in abandoned mines. During summer they roost under the peeling bark of dead and dying trees. Indiana bats eat a variety of flying insects found along rivers or lakes and in uplands.


White-nose Syndrome

White nose syndrome (WNS) is an illness that has killed over a million bats since 2006 when dead and dying bats, with the distinctive "white nose," were first observed. "White nose" refers to a ring of white fungus often seen on the faces and wings of affected bats. First observed in a cave in New York in February 2006, white-nose syndrome has spread from New York caves to caves in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Bats afflicted with white-nose syndrome have been found in over 25 caves and mines in the northeastern U.S. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has called for a moratorium on caving activities in the affected areas, and strongly recommends that any clothing or equipment used in such areas be decontaminated after each use.


White-nose Syndrome: Something is Killing Our Bats - USFWS White-nose Syndrome website


Video: The Battle for Bats: White Nose Syndrome


Decontamination Protocol for Bat Field Studies Use the most current version of the Protocol provided on the website. These protocols apply to anyone handling bats and working under a Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit (aka Federal Research Permit). The purpose of the protocols are to minimize the potential for transmission of white-nose syndrome (WNS) while handling bats (both between handler and bats and between bats). 


Photos of bats with white-nose syndrome

Indiana bats on a cave wall.

In the background, Indiana bats are drinking from water that has condensed on the cave wall.

Photo by USFWS; Andrew King



Life History, ESA Status and Population

News Release: Celebrate Endangered Species Day, Learn about the Endangered Indiana Bat


Indiana Bat Fact Sheet


Indiana Bat Fact Sheet - Northeastern U.S. (PDF)


Indiana Bat Summer Life History Information for Michigan


2013 Rangewide Population Estimate (6-page PDF Adobe PDF Icon)


Species Profile (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's National Endangered Species Website)



Biologist taking a digital photo of bats hibernating on a cave ceiling.

Biologists conduct modern bat surveys by taking digital photos of large bat clusters. Back in the office, they count bat noses in the photos to estimate the total cave population.

Photo by USFWS; Andrew King

Recovery Activities

Recovery is the process used to restore threatened and endangered species to the point that protection under the Endangered Species Act is no longer needed. The Endangered Species Act requires that a "Recovery Plan" be prepared for every listed species and that the status of every listed species is reviewed every five years (i.e., "Five-Year Reviews").


Indiana Bat Draft Recovery Plan; First Revision (258-page PDF; 1.4MB) - April 2007


Hopes For Indiana Bat Rise and Fall at Indiana's Cave River Valley (Dec. 2012)


Indiana Bat Five-Year Review (45-page PDF) - Sept. 2009


Private Stewardship Grant (May 2007): Restoring Southeast Michigan’s High Diversity Landscapes Through Collaborative Stewardship – Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Oakland, and Washtenaw Counties, Michigan


Private Stewardship Grant (May 2007): Reforestation and Wetland Restoration for Permanent Native Habitat in the St. Joseph River Watershed – Hillsdale County, Michigan; Defiance and Williams Counties, Ohio; Allen, Dekalb, and Noble Counties, Indiana – ($45,000*)


2006 S6 Grant Project - Mine Stability and Implications For Endangered Bat Conservation


Section 7 Consultation

Under Section 7, the Endangered Species Act directs all Federal agencies to work to conserve endangered and threatened species and to use their authorities to further the purposes of the Act. Section 7 of the Act, called "Interagency Cooperation," is the mechanism by which Federal agencies ensure the actions they take, including those they fund or authorize, do not jeopardize the existence of any listed species.


Indiana Bat Section 7 Consultation with Federal Highway Administration


Indiana Bat Section 7 and Section 10 Wind Energy Guidance


Indiana Bat Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities


2014 Summer Survey Guidelines


Automated Acoustic Bat ID Software Programs


Indiana Bat Biological Opinions


Section 7 Consultation Guidance



Critical Habitat

When a species is listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (Act), we must consider whether there are areas of habitat we believe are essential to the species’ conservation. Those areas may be designated as “critical habitat.” Some caves and mines have been designated as critical habitat for the Indiana bat because of their importance for hibernation. Below is information about a petition that we received to expand the critical habitat listing.


Finding on a Petition to Revise Critical Habitat

News Release (March 14, 2007)


Federal Register Notice: 90-Day and 12-Month Findings on a Petition To Revise Critical Habitat for the Indiana Bat (5 page PDF; 63KB)


Questions and Answers


Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs)

NiSource Multi-Species and Multi-State Habitat Conservation Plan


Fowler Ridge Wind Farm (Indiana)


Midwest Wind HCP - Wind Energy Facilities in Eight Midwest States (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin)


Buckeye Wind Power Project (Ohio) for Indiana Bat: HCP Approved; Permit Issued


Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants by State: Multistate: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio (Statewide) - Development of a Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan for Wind Energy Development in the Midwest $3,362,364


Non-traditional S6 Grant: HCP for the Indiana Bat on Indiana State Forest Lands (State-wide): $375,000


Indiana Bat Habitat Conservation Plan for I-70 near Indianapolis International Airport




Indiana Bat Photos on Flickr


Photos of bats with white-nose syndrome on Flickr


Videos of Indiana bats and their habitat - cavebiota.com



For Teachers

Indiana Bats, Kids, and Caves - Oh My! (an activity book for teachers)


News Release: Celebrate Endangered Species Day, Learn about the Endangered Indiana Bat


Indiana Bat Photos on Flickr


Photos of bats with white-nose syndrome on Flickr


Videos of Indiana Bats and their habitat - cavebiota.com


Bat Box Instructions (PDF)



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USFWS Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: November 20, 2014