Kentucky Ecological Services Field Station
Southeast Region
Map of the Southeast Region

Indiana Bat in Kentucky

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, Kentucky is a state rich in karst geology and with this geology comes many caves.  Over 100 caves (including 5 Priority 1 and 15 Priority 2 caves) within the state have historic Indiana bat records, and 74 of these caves have extant winter populations (i.e., populations that have been verified in the recent past). 

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 30 Kentucky counties, which are well distributed across the Commonwealth.  Due to this wide distribution in Kentucky and the frequent occurrence of suitable habitat conditions, the Service considers the Indiana bat to have the potential to occur anywhere in Kentucky 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


Procedures for Working with the Indiana bat in Kentucky


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Last updated: November 27, 2017
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