Facts about this colony

Estimated population: 300,000 bats

Capacity of Bat House and Bat Barn: 750,000 bats

Nightly insect consumption: 2.5 billion insects (more than 2,500 pounds)

Types of insects consumed: Moths, beetles, mosquitoes, flies, gnats, leafhoppers, midges, winged ants and many other pests of lawns, shrubs, trees, crops and humans.

 

History

The Bat House was built in March 1991 with support from the University Athletic Association. Bats permanently occupied the house in January 1995 and have raised nursery colonies in late Spring each year. The Bat Barn was built in March 2010 and became permanently occupied in August 2011.

When fire destroyed UF’s Johnson Hall in 1987, a colony of bats occupying the attic of the historic building was left homeless and soon inhabited the concrete bleachers of James G. Pressly Stadium at the track and Scott Linder Tennis Stadium on the north side of campus. The odor and stains from urine and guano and the bats’ close proximity to spectators were a nuisance, so the UAA decided to exclude the bats from those facilities and build a structure for them to live undisturbed and at a safe distance from humans. In September 1991, several thousand bats were captured from the stadiums, transported and released in the Bat House. The following evening, the bats emerged and found other places to live, while the Bat House sat vacant for more than three years, leaving UF officials and many citizens in doubt about the success of the relocation project.

But in 1995 the bats moved in permanently, and the colony continued to grow. In 2009, the internal structure of the house collapsed from the weight of the bats and the urine-soaked wood. The internal structure of the house was rebuilt and the Bat Barn added in 2010.