Welcome to the the world's largest occupied bat houses
The most common species living here is the Brazilian free-tailed bat, Tadarida brasiliensis. The Southeastern bat, Myotis austroriparius, and Evening bat, Nycticeius humeralis, also live in the structures.
The UF Bat Barn and Bat House are located on the north side of Museum Road between Village Drive and Radio Road across from Lake Alice. Parking is available in a lot just south of the bat houses near Radio Road. A sidewalk leads from the parking lot to the observation area. A UF parking decal is required Monday - Friday from 7:30 a.m - 4:30 p.m. Parking is free after 4:30 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends.
About the evening emergence
The bats normally emerge during a 15- to 20-minute period after sunset, before total darkness on calm, warm evenings when temperatures are above 65 F. Bats may swoop near those observing the emergence to eat insects attracted to the carbon dioxide in human breath, however they will not attack or harm people when left alone. High winds, heavy rain or cold temperatures will keep the bats in the house for the evening. On warm winter evenings, the bats may come out for a drink of water at the lake and exercise; however they can eat only when bugs are flying.
Maximum viewing opportunities
The best seasons for observing the emergence are Spring through early Summer, when days are increasing in length. During this time, the bats emerge sooner after sunset while there is a longer period of twilight. To gain the best perspective of the bats' emergence, watch the western sky over the pine trees and around the street lights on Museum Road. The shadows from the trees north of the house obscure the view of the bats' emergence.
Important things to remember when observing the bats
Bats are designated by Florida Statutes Chapter 372 as "Non-Game Wildlife" and their habitat must not be molested or disturbed by humans.
- Please do not throw any objects at the bats or the Bat House or Bat Barn.
- Please avoid making loud or high-pitched noises, as the bats are easily disturbed. Parents, please encourage children to comply.
- Maintain a safe distance from the structures by remaining behind the wooden fence of the observation area.
- Beware of falling urine and guano as bats fly overhead.
- Never pick up a bat on the ground.