Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office
Southeast Region
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Working With Bats in Tennessee

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White Nose Syndrome

bats white nose syndrome


Forest Dwelling Bats

Indiana Bat

indiana batPhoto Credit: USFWS

The Indiana bat is a small bat with dark gray to blackish, brown fur, found across much of the eastern United States.  It is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It was first listed as a result of large numbers of Indiana bat deaths caused by human disturbance during hibernation. 

Indiana bats hibernate during winter in caves or, occasionally, in abandoned mines. For hibernation, they require cool, humid caves with stable temperatures, under 50° F but above freezing. Very few caves within the range of the species have these conditions.  However, Tennessee is a state rich in karst geology and with this geology comes many caves. 

After hibernation, Indiana bats migrate to their summer habitat where they usually roost under loose tree bark on living, dead, or dying trees. During summer, males roost alone or in small groups, while females roost in larger groups of up to 100 bats or more. Indiana bats also forage in or along the edges of forested areas.  Summer records of Indiana bats, primarily gathered from mist-net surveys, have documented their presence in more than 21 Tennessee counties, which are well distributed across the State.  Due to this wide distribution in Tennessee and the frequent occurrence of suitable habitat conditions, the Service considers the Indiana bat to have the potential to occur anywhere in Tennessee that suitable habitat is present.

More information on the Indiana bat can be found by visiting the Ecological Conservation Online System (ECOS) website for the Indiana bat or the USFWS Region 3 Indiana bat website


Northern Long-eared Bat

northern long-eared batPhoto Credit: USFWS

The northern long-eared bat is one of the species of bats most impacted by the disease white-nose syndrome. Due to declines caused by white-nose syndrome as well as continued spread of the disease, the northern long-eared bat received protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

The Service proposed the northern long-eared bat as endangered in October 2013.  During review of the threats, we determined the northern long-eared bat meets the Endangered Species Act’s definition of threatened. Under the Act, a threatened species is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, while an endangered species is currently in danger of becoming extinct.  

The interim 4(d) rule provides flexibility to landowners, land managers, government agencies and others as they conduct activities in northern long-eared bat habitat.  Given the significant number of comments received in response to the 4(d) rule as proposed on January 15, 2015, we also opened a 90-day comment and accepted further input on the interim rule through July 1, 2015.

Rangewide Indiana Bat Summer Survey Guidance

Conservation Strategy for Forest-dwelling Bats in Tennessee

Biological Opinion - Tennessee Field Office's Participation in Conservation Memoranda of Understanding for the Indiana Bat and/or Northern Long-eared Bat

List of Consultants that hold federal permits to survey for endangered bats in Tennessee

Range-wide Consultation and Conservation Strategy under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act for the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Railroad Administration













Last updated: January 24, 2017
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