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.  

More information on the Indiana bat can be found by visiting 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 was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act on April 2, 2015. At the same time the Service established an interim 4(d) rule that identified protections provided under the Act. The Service also opened a 90-day public comment period on the interim 4(d) rule. After reviewing comments the Service developed a final 4(d) rule, which was published in the Federal Register on January 14, 2016, and the rule went into effect on February 16, 2016.

For all areas within the range of the northern long-eared bat, all purposeful take is prohibited except:

  • Removal of  northern long-eared bats in defense of one’s own life or the lives of others, including for public health monitoring purposes (i.e., collecting a bat after human exposure and submitting for disease testing).


b) Removal from human structures, but only if the actions comply with all applicable State regulations. The following are removal recommendations:

    • 1. Minimize use of pesticides (e.g., rodenticides) and avoid use of sticky traps as part of bat evictions/exclusions.
  • 2. Conduct exclusions during spring or fall unless there is a perceived public health concern from bats present during summer and/or winter.
  • 3. Contact a nuisance wildlife specialist for humane exclusion techniques.

c) Removal of hazardous trees for protection of human life and property.

d) Purposeful take that resulting from actions related to the capture handling, and related activities for northern long-eared bats by individuals permitted to conduct these same activities for other species of bats until May 3, 2016. After May 3, 2016, a permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA is required for the capture and handling of northern long-eared bats, except for purposeful take associated with bat removal from human structures.


For areas of the country impacted by white-nose syndrome (such as Tennessee), the measures provided in the final 4(d) rule exempt take from the following activities:

1. Forest management practices,

2. Maintenance and limited expansion of transportation and utility rights-of-way,

3. Prairie habitat management,

4. Limited tree removal projects, provided these activities protect known roosts and hibernacula,


as long as these activities include these measures:


4a. Activity occurs more than 0.25 mile (0.4 km) from a known, occupied hibernacula.

4b. Activity avoids cutting or destroying known, occupied roost trees during the pup season (June 1–July 31).

4c. Activity avoids clearcuts (and similar harvest methods, e.g. seed tree, shelterwood and coppice) within 150 feet (45.72 m) of known, occupied roost trees during the pup season (June 1–July 31).

Additional information on the northern long-eared bat can be found by clicking HERE.


Rangewide Indiana Bat Summer Survey Guidance

Map of Indiana bat sites in Tennessee

Map of Northern long-eared bat sites 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: June 30, 2021
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