Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) are native to the Basin and Range region and are common throughout western North and Central America. They are also found in areas of South America.
Historically cave roosters, modern times have found these bats choosing to roost in attics, bridges, and abandoned buildings. They often choose roosts near water, as water attracts the insects they eat, as well as providing a drinking source to meet their hydration needs.
As with many species of bats, Mexican free-tailed bats eat large amounts of insects including: moths, flying ants, beetles, and bugs. They'll fly up to 100 miles round trip looking for a meal, eating up to two thirds of their body weight every night. In large roosts it is estimated that 250 tons of insects can be consumed each night!
Known for their straight, fast and high flight, Mexican free-tailed bats can fly up to 60 miles an hour and at altitudes over 10,000 feet!
Mexican free-tailed bats are a medium sized bat with a mass of 11-14 grams. They are dark brown to gray in color. Their tail is considered "naked, " with half of the tail extending past the interfemoral membrane, hence the name free-tailed bat.
Click here to learn more about bats in the Basin and Range!
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: Mexican Free-tailed bats accessed 4/11/19: https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bioeco/mftbat.htm
Arizona-Senora Desert Museum, Mexican free-tailed bat accessed 4/11/19: https://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/bats/mexican_free_tailed_bat.php
Nevada Natural Heritage Program Tadarida brasiliensis access 4/11/19: http://heritage.nv.gov/taxon_detail/16599
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