Do Bats Hibernate?

Bats hibernate during the cold winter months, usually from the middle of November to the middle of March. During hibernation, they can be found taking refuge in caves, behind rocks, in buildings, old mines, hollow trees, etc. During the summer they build up fat in order to live through the winter.

It is very important that if you ever come across a bat that is hibernating, that you do not disturb it, as doing so can lower its energy levels, possibly rendering the bat unable to survive the winter. Most bats will hibernate in groups and can be found hanging upside down on walls or ceilings. Sometimes while hanging upside down bats will huddle together in groups, or they may choose to hang upside down alone, pushing away other bats that get too close for comfort.

The Hibernation Process And How It All Works

During the hibernation process, a bat’s body temperature will drop until reaches the temperature that it is outside. When it does this, he or she is no longer required to make as much body heat, therefore also not needing as much food. Bats can hibernate for long periods of time if they are only using a little bit of food that they have already stored in their bodies.

Some bats such as the red bat, that is most often recognized by its bright red fur, will fly hundreds of miles in the fall to hibernate for winter. During this time, these brightly colored bats can be found flying from Canada to Ohio. These bats are one of the toughest around. Their temperatures go as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit and they can be found hibernating in spaces between rocks. They are quite the sight as they wrap their tails around them and curl up into balls to sleep. When their body temperatures drop down, their heart rates only beat about ten times per minute, whereas usually a bat’s heartbeat would be about a thousand beats per minute.

Other types of bats set up roosts in trees. Usually the males will do this and have it all set up for the females who will arrive later on. The two mate and then hibernate. One type of bat in particular that follows this specific method of hibernation is the Pipistrelle bat.

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