I can't think of bats without immediately quoting Hunter S. Thompson from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas - "We can't stop here! This is bat country!" but literary quotes aside, bats are an integral part of our eco-system and it's migration season.

According to the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife, spring is when bats migrate. They say some species are already traveling while others are just waking up. This time of year, it's not uncommon to see bats flying around in the Hoosier state and you may even spot one hanging out under the eaves of your home.

There are actually 13 different bat species that call Indiana home. According to the Department of Natural Resources, six of those species are subterranean - meaning they live underground in caves or mines when it's time to hibernate. With the exception of the Big Brown Bat, twelve of the thirteen species found in Indiana are either considered "State Endangered" or of "Special Concern." The most rare of the thirteen bats to be found in Indiana include the Eastern Small-footed bat, Rafinessque's Big-eared Bat and the Southeastern Bat.

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While you may not think bats are as cool as I do, the truth is they are remarkable creatures. They can eat half of their body weight in insects like beetles and mosquitos - every night! They are a tremendous asset to our eco-system. In fact, according to the Indiana Department of Resources,

Many insects eaten by bats are harmful agricultural and forest pests. It is estimated that the economic impact to the agricultural industry due to the loss of insect-eating bats in North America could exceed $3.7 billion per year.

With these little bug-eaters are on the move this time of year, it is entirely possible that you might encounter one that is injured but do you know what to do or who to call if you find a bat in need? You can find all the recommendations on determining if an animal is in fact in need of human aid by visiting the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. You'll also find a list of permitted wildlife rehabilitators in Indiana, including several in Vanderburgh county.

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