Skip to main content
Pest control

Do Bats Migrate or Hibernate?

By July 10, 2024No Comments

Did you know that bats, the only flying mammals, have a fascinating way of coping with seasonal changes? These nocturnal creatures, often misunderstood, have developed unique survival strategies that can vary widely between species. In this post, we’ll find out whether bats typically migrate, hibernate, or have different seasonal behavior changes altogether.

By exploring their behaviors, you’ll gain insights into how bats navigate changing climates and ensure their survival year after year.

Standard Behavior for Bats

Bats are incredibly diverse, with over 1,400 species worldwide. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica, thriving in a range of habitats from tropical rainforests to deserts.

This diversity means that bats have developed various survival strategies to cope with environmental changes. Primarily nocturnal, bats normally come out at dusk to hunt for food. Their diet mainly consists of insects, fruits, nectar, and, in some cases, small animals.

Using echolocation, bats navigate the dark, locating prey with remarkable precision. Their ability to fly and their nocturnal habits are key adaptations that help them avoid many predators and exploit nighttime food sources.

Some bat species do migrate and many species also hibernate

Migration vs. Hibernation

Migration is the seasonal movement of animals from one region to another, typically to find food or more favorable living conditions.

Hibernation, on the other hand, is a state of dormancy where an animal significantly slows its metabolism to conserve energy during periods of cold weather and scarce food supply.

Many animals migrate to escape harsh climates and find abundant food. Migration allows them to leverage different environments at different times of the year. This way, they always have access to the resources they need to survive and reproduce.

Hibernation helps animals survive periods when food is scarce and temperatures are low. By entering a state of torpor, animals can conserve energy, reducing their need for food and maintaining their body functions at a minimal level until conditions improve.

Migrate or Hibernate?

Several bat species are known for each seasonal tradition. For example, the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) hibernate during the winter months. These bats find sheltered locations where they can remain undisturbed for extended periods.

In contrast, other bat species migrate to warmer regions to escape the cold and find food. Species like the Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) and the Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) are known for their long migratory journeys.

How Bats Hibernate

Bats typically hibernate in caves, mines, or even attics where temperatures remain stable and above freezing.

During hibernation, bats undergo significant physiological changes – their heart rate drops dramatically, and their body temperature can plummet to just a few degrees above the ambient temperature. These changes help conserve energy, allowing bats to survive on stored body fat until spring.

How Bats Migrate

Migrating bats often travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to reach their wintering grounds. They rely on favorable weather conditions and the availability of food sources along the way. These migration patterns can vary significantly between species, with some bats making short regional migrations and others undertaking long-distance journeys.

Migration is a perilous journey for bats, as they face numerous challenges, including adverse weather conditions, predators, and habitat destruction. Despite these risks, migration remains a crucial strategy for survival, allowing many bat species to find the resources they need to thrive.

Why Do Seasonal Bat Habits Vary?

Different bat species have evolved to adopt either migration or hibernation based on their ecological needs and geographical location.

Bats in temperate regions, where winters are harsh, are more likely to hibernate. Conversely, bats in tropical regions, where food is available year-round, might not need to migrate or hibernate.

Also, changing climates can influence bat behavior. Warmer winters may reduce the need for hibernation, while shifts in food availability can prompt changes in migration patterns.

Georgia Bat Habits

In the Atlanta area, the mild climate plays a significant role in bat behavior. Some species, like the Eastern Red Bat, migrate to warmer areas during the colder months. Others, like the Big Brown Bat mentioned above, may stay and hibernate in local caves or abandoned buildings.

The diverse habitats in Georgia provide plenty of food sources for native bats, which reduces the need for long migrations.

Several bats found in georgia and whether they hibernate or migrate

Safely Coexisting with Bats

In reality, bats are generally shy and prefer to avoid human contact. So, while you may not encounter them frequently depending on your location, being aware of the best ways to interact with bats can prevent harm to both you and them.

Creating or maintaining bat-friendly habitats is beneficial for both bats and humans. Installing bat houses can provide safe roosting sites, reducing the likelihood of bats seeking shelter in attics or other parts of your home.

Ensuring these houses are placed in appropriate locations with access to food and water sources can help support local bat populations.

It’s also essential to seal entry points to prevent bats from entering living spaces. Moreover, regularly inspecting and maintaining your home can prevent conflicts.

When to Call a Professional

  • Large Numbers of Bats: If you notice a significant number of bats roosting in your home or property, it’s time to call a professional. Managing large bat colonies can be complex and requires specialized knowledge to ensure humane and effective removal.
  • Daytime Activity: Bats are nocturnal. If you see bats active during the day, it could be a sign of distress or illness, which requires professional assessment and intervention.
  • Direct Contact: If you or someone else has had direct contact with a bat, especially through bites or scratches, it’s crucial to contact a professional immediately. Bats can carry rabies, and prompt medical advice and professional handling are essential.
  • Structural Damage: If bats have caused damage to your home’s structure, such as through entry points or nesting, professionals can assess and repair the damage while ensuring that bats are safely excluded and cannot return.
  • Recurring Issues: If bats return, a professional can provide a long-term solution to prevent future infestations.


In a nutshell, because they adapt to seasonal changes in their own ways, some bats hibernate while others migrate. When we understand them better, we can appreciate their role in our ecosystems and take steps to coexist safely.

If you need assistance with bats or any other pest populations in Atlanta, GA, and surrounding areas, call All South Pest Control today.

Leave a Reply