An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Rafinesque's Big-Eared Bat
Sixteen species of bats have been documented in Kentucky (see list below.) Fourteen of these species are considered permanent or seasonal residents. The Seminole bat appears to be expanding its range into Kentucky and possibly breeds here now. The Brazilian (or Mexican) free-tailed bat occurs as an occasional wanderer, though there is prehistoric evidence that the species used to reside in Kentucky. Three of Kentucky’s bat species are federally endangered, the Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus), the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), and the gray bat (Myotis grisescens). The Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) is listed as federally threatened.
To learn more, click on any of the species links below. Photos and Kentucky distribution maps are provided for each species. Line drawings showing the basic anatomy of a bat are also included below. They help highlight the key features used to identify certain species. Keep in mind that distinguishing among some of the Myotis species is hard to even for a trained biologist!
Illustration by Rick Hill, KDFWR
Illustration by Rick Hill, KDFWR after Schwartz