Gray Bat
A Female Gray Bat
Photo credit: Adam Mann
Environmental Solutions and Innovations
Bat sounds credit: Sound


The Endangered Mammals of Florida



Gray Bats
Myotis grisescens


To begin, what is a Mammal?

A Mammal is an Animal that is a hairy, warm blooded,

vertebrate (has a backbone) that breathes air, gives birth live,

and the female of the species nurses its young.

The Gray Bat was, like many others, on the road to extinction

in the South until a young man from Tennessee began

what would become a lifetime of dedication to

studying, saving and protecting them.

This man's passion and devotion would lead eventually

to him reporting his findings to the authorities,

who at his request in 1976, added the Gray Bat to

the Endangered Species List.


The actions taken by one man nearly single handedly saved a species.

Imagine that, one person making a difference in the preservation

of a remarkable creature whose daily diet should be

enough for us to honor it until the end of time.

One single Bat can eat up to 4,500 insects per day.

Can you name another such animal?


The savior of this maligned and misunderstood Mammal is

Dr. Merlin Tuttle and his life's work is almost as remarkable

as the tiny creature he has devoted himself to protecting.

The stories of their intertwined lives is here:

The Gray Bat

A Lifetime of Bats and Science

Unlike other Bats, the Gray Bat,

with a few exceptions, lives in large

colonies in Limestone Caves all year long.

In Florida, the Endangered Gray Bats are found

only in the Caves near Mariana in the panhandle.

Most Bats nest in Caves with close proximity to water.

Gray Bat
A Gray Bat
Photo credit: Jerry A. Payne/USDA


Gray Bats can eat up to 4,500 insects in one night,

their diet consisting primarily of mayflies, moths,

mosquitoes and other assorted insects.

Gray Bat
A Gray Bat
Photo credit: USACE


Bats usually sleep during the day and

eat at night, mostly over water.

They weigh between 8-11 grams and

have a 10-12 inch wingspan.

Their average lifespan is about 14-15 years.

As seen below, the wings of the

Gray Bat are translucent.

Gray Bat
A Gray Bat
Photo credit: Dr. Renn Tumlison HSU


Human destruction or damage to Bat Caves as well

as the overuse of chemicals in and around their

nesting Caves are contributing to their decline.

Another major problem is pesticide runoff

into the waters where they feed daily.

Their numbers were dropping so rapidly,

that in 1976, Gray Bats were added to the

Endangered Species List (ESA).

Our Bat House
Our Bat House


In spite of all that is against them, the Gray Bats

are beginning to make a comeback now in the

South, as a result of the protection that they

are getting in the states of Florida, Alabama,

Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri.

Save Our Bats

Want to help Save Our Bats?
Click on me to learn more at Biological Diversity.

Places to learn more:

Animal Info

Gray Bats


Arkansas Game and Fish

Gray Bat

A Decade of Bat Conservation

Endangered Gray Bat


Edge of Existence




Gray Bats


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Gray Bats


Harvard Gazette

Oldest Mammal Found


Henderson State University

Nature Trivia: Bats


Missouri Conservation Commission

Gray Bat


Nature Conservancy

Subterranean Conservation


New York State Museum

Mammals Revealed


North Carolina Fish and Wildlife

Gray Bats in North Carolina


University of California Museum of Paleontology

The Hall of Mammals


University of Florida



University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Class Mammalia



Bat Fact Sheet



Mammalian Studies



Walking with the Alligators

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Educating Visitors About Florida's Wildlife Since August 19, 2008

Last edited September 11, 2022

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