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This happened in LaGrange GA. We heard some crawling around behind one of the faux-wood shutters on our front porch. So I eased it back and saw this:

enter image description here

If you can't make out the scale, the furry part was about 3 inches long. I didn't want him hanging out right there so I took the shutter off and tried to carry it to the woods but he jumped off. I videoed this:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/NsAFrcry8nJmykzQ7

He definitely had trouble flying but he didn't seem to be sick. He didn't look like a baby to me but I'm not familiar. Any idea what his problem was? He's currently either in the holly bush right next to the house or made his way to the woods in the back yard. I've heard horror storied about rabies so I avoided direct contact the best I could considering how cool this was to see one this close.

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    $\begingroup$ Rabid bats can't typically fly or cling upside down. (just like rabid squirrels and raccoons, for example, can't easily climb up trees). As a word of caution, you should never handle a bat you find lying on the ground because its chances of carrying rabies is much higher than one that is flying. Any oddly-behaving (or even oddly-located) bat should be assumed to be rabid simply for safety sake. $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Jun 27 '19 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ However, your bat was found clinging upside down -- a normal behavior, and one that an advanced case of rabies would make more difficult. I'm assuming the lack of flying is due to either an injury you caused to it or simply because you woke the thing up by tearing apart its house. Imagine how you'd stumble about in the middle of the night if a tornado tore off your roof and an earthquake shook you out of your second floor window! $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Jun 27 '19 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ Just an important note for those visiting this page: MOST BATS DON'T HAVE RABIES. For some more quick info: cdc.gov/rabies/bats/education/index.html $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Jun 27 '19 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ Also, in case your link eventually dies, please convert a portion of your video to a gif to post directly to SE imgur. Try www.ezgif.com to convert and crop your video to an animated gif image. Thanks $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Jun 27 '19 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ Good to know about rabid bats not typically being able to fly or hang upside down. For what it's worth, I was very gentle taking apart his house. Plus, I was there first. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Jun 27 '19 at 19:35
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Short answer

Appears to be an evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis) or little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus).

Long answer.

You can see a list of common bat species in Georgia through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. (A high-res image of a visual poster can be seen here).

According to Greenhall and Frantz (1994)1, three of the species found in Georgia are among the species most found in and around buildings: big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis), and little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)

Your image is relatively good, but it does not provide enough detail of key structures to definitively say which species it is. (see Morgan et al. (2019)2 for a key).

If we go simply based on size, the evening bat seems to be closest to your specimen:

  • E. fuscus is typically 4.1-5.1 inches in length (source), which is larger than your specimen
  • Your specimen is larger than a typical M lucifugus (1.8-2.3 inches, source).
  • N. humeralis is more similarly sized (average is 3.4 inches, source).

It appears that your bat has a broad nose, which would hint toward big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) or an evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis).

According to GeorgiaBiodiversity.com:

The evening bat is commonly confused with the big brown bat due to its fur color and broad muzzle. However, the evening bat is much smaller and does not have a keeled calcar. The evening bat's rounded tragus distinguishes it from all other small bats except the eastern pipistrelle, which has tri-colored rather than bicolored dorsal fur. The evening bat also has just two upper incisors instead of the four typical of all myotis.

Wait, keeled calcar? Huh?

  • A calcar is the spur of cartilage coming off the lateral side of the ankle of bats. The image below roughly dmeonstrates the difference between keeled and not keeled.

enter image description here

Left is keeled; Right is not keeled. Source: Fig 12, Morgan et al. (2019)2

Your specimen does not appear to have a keeled calcar, which would suggest further that this is more likely an evening bat versus a big brown bat.

However, the little brown bat also lacks a keeled calcar....

Though many sources do not directly compare the little brown and evening bat, Morgan et al.'s (2019) key splits these species at the same step, suggesting they have much in common. Morgan et al.'s differentiating characteristics for these species include:

Hair on hind foot extends beyond tips of claws; tragus long and blunt; underwing lightly furred to elbow: Myotis lucifugus (Little Brown Bat).

No long hair on foot; tragus is short, blunt and curved; underwing, muzzle, and uropatagium are hairless: Nycticeius humeralis (Evening Bat)

According to Greenhall and Frantz (1994)1,

[the evening bat] bears some resemblance to the somewhat smaller little brown bat (M. lucifugus) but can be identified by its characteristic blunt tragus.

To reiterate, the "sharply-pointed" tragus (source) of M. lucifigus and the presence of long toe hairs extending beyond the length of the toe claws (source) would both definitively point toward the little brown bat vs the evening bat. However, neither characteristics is really distinguishable in your photograph.

As such, I don't feel fully confident to rule one out over the other.

It's 3 am though, so perhaps I should stare at your image more in the morning after some rest...I'll update further if I notice anything definitive.


1. Greenhall, A.M. and Frantz, S.C., 1994. Bats (Myotis lucifugus). The Handbook: Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage, p.46.

2. Morgan, C.N., Ammerman, L.K., Demere, K.D., Doty, J.B., Nakazawa, Y.J. and Mauldin, M.R., 2019. Field identification key and guide for bats of the United States of America. Occasional papers (Texas Tech University. Museum), 360.

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