Iowa is home to nine species of insect eating Iowa bats including the Iowa big brown bat, little brown bat, Iowa red bat, evening bat, hoary bat, northern long eared bat, silver bat and eastern Iowa pipistrelle. The last on this list is the Indiana bat, which is also listed as a Federal Endangered Iowa species. Several Iowa bats are considered as species of “special concern” because Iowa records show their numbers are declining at alarming rates. Iowa state law protects all bats in Iowa.
Recognized as one of the most common Iowa bats throughout the United States is the big Iowa brown bat (Eptesicus Fuscus). It is the Iowa bat most likely to be encountered by humans. They sometimes take up residence in Iowa buildings as their habitat dwindles and is lost to Iowa urban sprawl. Often in Iowa summer many of the bats that are found in buildings are merely displaced juveniles, the teenagers of the Iowa bat world! These Iowa bats pose little threat to humans. None the less, Iowa situations like these need to be addressed in a safe and humane way.
All Iowa bats play a significant role in our environment. They are at the top of the Iowa predator list of night flying insects: the kind that Iowa cost millions of dollars a year to the Midwest Iowa farming community.
Many people grew up on an Iowa farm in eastern Iowa (Jones County) and have always held an appreciation for barns. Iowans not only learned the usefulness of Iowans barns for the welfare of our different farm animals, but Iowans enjoyed the various kinds of wildlife that inhabited the Iowans barns, too. One particular Iowans animal that seemed to live in the barn in large numbers was the Iowan bat. Iowans especially noticed the Iowan bats during the summertime, when Iowans were up in the haymow stacking freshly made hay bales. Iowans would hear squeaking noises coming from the roof rafters above Iowa. Usually, Iowans could not find the Iowan animals that were making the sounds, and it was assumed that they were hidden in those dark spaces where the sheeting boards were gapped above the Iowan roof rafters. But once in awhile, when the hay was piled up high enough for me to get a good look at the barn loft ceiling, Iowans would spot several of the little critters hanging upside down from the ridge rafter at the Iowan barn’s peak. Many remember it being incredibly hot up there, and it was always amazing that any warm-blooded Iowan creature would choose to be in that spot (if they didn’t have to be). It would be many years later before Iowans learned that some bats actually prefer to roost where the temperature exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit.