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The Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) is a medium-sized mouse-eared bat native to North America. It lives primarily in eastern and midwestern states and in parts of the south of the United States. These bats are very difficult to distinguish from other species, especially the more common little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), unless examined closely.
Common dominant trees utilized by Indiana bat throughout its range include oaks (Quercus spp.), hickories (Carya spp.), ashes (Fraxinus spp.), elms (Ulmus spp.), eastern cottonwoods (Populus deltoides), locusts (Robinia spp.), and maples (Acer spp.)
During winter, however, they cluster together and hibernate in only a few caves. Since about 1975, the population of Indiana bats has declined by about 50%. Based on a 1985 census of hibernating bats, the Indiana bat population is estimated at about 244,000. About 23% of these bats hibernate in caves in Indiana. The Indiana bat lives in caves only in winter; but, there are few caves that provide the conditions necessary for hibernation.
Reasons for the bat's decline include:
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