Many species of bats roost in trees. Those that prefer sunlight will roost directly on branches while others will nest inside of a hollow tree or slip beneath the bark to roost. Roosting requirements vary between species and also vary with seasonal and mating needs. Bats choose their roosts depending on their feeding habits and environmental needs, which include light, temperature, and humidity. You will find bats in caves, buildings, trees, under leaves, on the surface of rocks…anywhere that meets the needs of the bat species providing them with shelter from predators and bad weather.
Bat Species That Live in Trees
Southern Yellow Bat. The bat that is specifically associated with tree roosting is the Southern Yellow Bat. This species can be found roosting in trees in warmer climates. You may find these little yellow bats roosting in trees such as palm, coconut, mango, and banana, the yellowed foliage of dead palm fronds making it nearly invisible to predators. Unlike many of bat species, they usually roost alone.
Little Brown Bat. The little brown bat is an example of another species that will roost in tree hollows and under tree bark. You will find them in dead or dying trees that provide more crevices and hollows usually in close proximity to water where they prefer to hunt. Reproductive females are particularly fond of this type of roost and during the warmer months will gather in maternity colonies away from the male bats and non-productive females. Depending on the size of the roost, these colonies of mothers and babies can range in number from 300-1200 bats. You may find the occasional male or two using trees as day roosts or hiding beneath tree bark. Both sexes will hibernate elsewhere during the colder months.
Evening Bat. The Evening Bat can be found throughout the eastern United States. Though it will roost in buildings or barns, the Evening Bat prefers to roost in tree hollows in wetland areas. Hundreds of reproductive females will gather to create maternity colonies while males will generally roost alone.
Big Brown Bat. The Big Brown Bat is one of the largest bats in North America and can be found from Canada throughout the United States to Mexico. Though trees are not their sole roosting choice, maternity colonies are often found beneath loose bark and in hollows of bald cypress, beech, oak, and pine trees. Maternity colonies consist of several to more than a hundred females and may include males of the species. In the winter months, the Big Brown Bat usually roosts alone.