Bats tend to carry more of a stigma than they do suspicious diseases or bad intentions. The negative connotations associated with these flying, nocturnal creatures led to a steady decline in their populations throughout the United States. Luckily, places like the University of Florida’s Bat House conservancy aim to protect these mammals and rebuild their status as contributing members of the ecosystem. In addition to learning about the history of the site, guests learn about the behaviors, diets, and the environmental benefits of bats.
Discover more insightful learning opportunities and outdoor adventures like visiting the bat houses in Florida when you download our complimentary vacation guide!
8 Facts About the Bat Houses in Florida
1. These bat houses are the largest in the world
You can find the world’s largest occupied bat houses right here in Gainesville at the University of Florida’s Bat Houses. When you visit, you will see two bat barns and one larger bat house.
2. They are part of the Florida Museum
The bat houses sit to the north of Museum Road, near the Florida Museum. In addition to checking out the bats, be sure to tour the museum as it is one of the nation’s top 5 natural history museums.
3. Various species of bats make their homes here
The different species include:
The Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
The Southeastern bat (Myotis austroriparius)
The Evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis)
4. Watch the bats emerge for their evening snack
The bats’ emergence for food occurs for a brief 15 to 20-minute interval just after sunset. The warm weather of spring and summer allow for the best opportunity to observe the bats’ emergence from their homes.
5. Hundreds of thousands of bats call these houses their homes
The staff estimates that roughly 400,000 bats populate the houses, but the capacity has the potential to hold up to 750,000 bats.
6. The bats eat billions of insects
The nightly bat consumption can reach up to 2.5 billion insects which is the equivalent of more than 2,500 pounds! Their favorite meal consists of moths, beetles, mosquitoes, flies, gnats, leafhoppers, midges, winged ants and more.
7. The Bat Houses have an interesting history
The bat houses began in the 1990s in an attempt to relocate bats who made their homes under the bleachers of the University’s sports stadiums after a fire devastated their attic home in a historic building.
8. Watch the bats from your own home
If you can’t make it to see the bats emerge from their lairs in the evening, you can watch their behaviors via one of the live cams. Choose between an interior perspective or the exterior view.
The Environmental Significance of Bats
Bats manage insect populations across the United States, and this natural form of pest control contributes to the overall welfare of the environment. In addition, bats pollinate and disperse seeds for fruit trees. They also help fertilize the soil with valuable micronutrients that improve plant nutrition!
Hibernate at Sweetwater Branch Inn
After spending an evening at the Florida Bat Houses, come back to Sweetwater Branch Inn! From spacious cottages to bed and breakfast suites, we offer a range of accommodations suitable for everyone’s needs. Revel in the sweet, Southern sophistication of our elegant decor. Go for a swim in our saltwater pool or stroll through our gorgeous gardens. Allow us to make your dream vacation a reality.
We look forward to your visit!