Only found in southern Florida, the federally endangered Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) is the rarest bat species in the U.S. In order to learn more about the species and work to protect it, BCI partnered with Florida Power & Light Company and Zoo Miami to open the FPL Bat Lab at Zoo Miami in October 2019. This unique lab is dedicated to monitoring bat population health, educating the community, and furthering knowledge about this rare species, including learning more about the insects they eat and their range in an urban environment.
Sometimes, Florida bonneted bats roost in buildings, typically in the Spanish tiles of historic homes. One of the labs priorities includes providing secure places for these bats to live where they are not in conflict with homeowners. To do this, we are installing 40 specially engineered artificial bat roosts throughout Miami-Dade County. Sixteen are already installed, and half of these were quickly occupied. Affixed to utility poles, the hurricane-resistant roosts are higher off the ground than typical bat houses to allow the species more room for takeoff due to its 20-inch wingspan and wing shape.