Bats in Buildings
Bats in Buildings

Bats in Buildings


Buildings give bats what all mammals need: protection from predators, stable temperatures and safe shelter in which to rest and raise their young. Bats have species-specific roost needs and preferences that vary by season, region, climate and activity. Some bat species use man-made structures like buildings, bridges and other constructions, to complement their selection of natural roosts, whereas others are forced to use buildings almost exclusively as alternative roosts when natural roosts such as caves and hollow trees are in decline or no longer available.

In the U.S. and Canada, almost three-fourths of the 47 bat species have been documented in structures 


Legal protection of bats varies widely around the globe. In the U.K. and most European countries, all bat species and their roosts are protected—including all bats in buildings--by both domestic and international legislation.

In North America, fewer protections exist for bats, in buildings or in more “natural” roosts. In the U.S., federal protections include:

  • Environmental Protection Agency, Section 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which prohibits off-label use of pesticides. Bats are protected in that no chemicals are labeled for use against bats
  • The Endangered Species Act of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers some protection to bats deemed federally endangered (In the United States and Canada, eight species or subspecies are listed as Endangered, a ninth is listed as Threatened as of February 2017). See for U.S. federal policy gov- erning endangered species. See for information about the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Other protections are a patchwork of state laws in the U.S., few of which provide robust protection for bats. However, several states have legislated maternity season bans on excluding bats from buildings


  • Tolerate and maintain existing roosts in buildings, trees, and caves, and provide new ones (e.g. bat boxes)
  • Do not disturb bats while roosting, especially not during hibernation and nursing;
  • Avoid the use of pesticides in your garden and the use of remedial timber treatment agents in your roof. Both can lead to the poisoning of bats. If using them is unavoidable choose only products which are not harmful to bats.
  • Actively dispel misconceptions by telling other people some facts about the fascinating lifestyle of bats.
  • Tips via Eurobats


Download our Bats and Buildings brochure:  







This work was developed in collaboration with Fly By Night, Inc. and Austin Bat Refuge.








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