Mexican Free-tailed Bat

Tadarida brasiliensis

Summary 2

The Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis), also known as the Brazilian free-tailed bat, is a medium-sized bat that is native to the Americas and is widely regarded as one of the most abundant mammals in North America.

Mexican free-tailed bats roost primarily in caves. However, they will also roost in buildings of any type as long as they have access to openings and dark recesses in ceilings or walls.[3] The bats can make roosting sites of buildings regardless of "age, height, architecture, construction materials, occupancy by humans and compass orientation".[3] Caves, on the other hand, need to have enough wall and ceiling space to fit millions of bats.[3] Before buildings, free-tailed bats in the southeastern United States probably roosted in the hollows of trees such as red mangrove, black mangrove, white mangrove and cypress. However, most bats in Florida seem to prefer buildings and other man-made structures over natural roosts.[3] Caves in Florida tend to be occupied mostly by the southeastern myotis. Caves in Florida tend to have pools of water on the floor and the free-tailed bats do not need as much relative humidity as the southeastern myotis.[3]
Mexican free-tailed bats are primarily insectivores. They hunt their prey using echolocation. The bats eat moths, beetles, dragonflies, flies, true bugs, wasps, and ants. Bats usually catch flying prey in flight.[8] Large numbers of Mexican free-tailed bats fly hundreds of meters above the ground in Texas to feed on migrating insects.[9] The consumption of insects by these bats can be quite significant.[10][11]

Additionally, Mexican free-tailed bats are also efficient pollinators.[11] Their pollination of sugar cane as well as their consumption of insects that damage sugar cane may be among the reasons why Bacardi rum features the Mexican free-tailed bat as its icon. Bacardi Ltd. themselves attribute the use of the bat in the logo to, "... Don Facundo’s wife, Amalia, who suggested using a bat for the company logo. It was an insightful choice, because according to Cuban and Spanish lore, bats symbolize good health, good fortune and family unity."[12]
Mexican free-tailed bats are nocturnal foragers and begin feeding after dusk. They travel 50 km in a quick, direct flight pattern to feed. This species flies the highest among bats, at altitudes around 3300 m.[14] Bats appears to be most active in late morning and afternoon between June and September.[15] Free-tailed bats are more active in warm weather.[16]

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) nataliemarisa, all rights reserved
  2. Adapted by nataliemarisa from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),

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Range Map

iNat Map

Endangered status least concern
Taxa mammal