Common Name
Pallid Bat

Pronunciation: an-troh-zoh-us pal-id-us

Conservation Status: Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

Diet: Omnivore

Fun Fact: In addition to eating insects and other arthropods, Pallid Bats also feed on cactus flower nectar and fruits. Research by BCI’s Chief Scientist Dr. Winifred Frick even suggests that Pallid Bats are more effective at pollinating columnar cacti than some specialized nectar-feeding bats!

Pallid Bats are pale yellow-brown in color with large ears and blunt pig-like snout. These medium-large bats (15 –25 grams) are found mainly in desert habitats throughout the western United States, western Canada,and central Mexico. Pallid Bats can use their large ears to listen for the sound of prey moving on the ground, and are known to eat a variety of foods including crickets, centipedes, scorpions, cicadas, lizards, rodents, cactus fruit,and nectar.

Pallid bats are adept at handling and consuming scorpions on the ground, and appear to be resistant to scorpion venom (including that of the bark scorpion, North America’s most venomous scorpion species). In addition to feeding on the fruit and nectar of columnar cacti, they have also been observed visiting agave flowers and likely act as pollinators for those species. When hunting insect and arthropod prey, Pallid Bats rely heavily on sound cues. As a result, they are particularly sensitive to noise pollution. Even when exposed to relatively low-level noise, bats in a laboratory setting experienced between a two and threefold reduction in their ability to locate a food item.

Staff Pick: Dr. Winifred Frick, Chief Scientist

Literature Cited
Bunkley, J. P., & Barber, J. R. (2015) Noise reduces foraging efficiency in pallid bats (Antrozous pallidus). Ethology, 121(11), 1116-1121.

Frick, W. F., Price, R. D., Heady III, P. A., & Kay, K. M. (2013) Insectivorous bat pollinates columnar cactus more effectively per visit than specialized nectar bat. The American Naturalist, 181(1), 137-144.

Hopp, B. H., Arvidson, R. S., Adams, M. E., & Razak, K. A. (2017) Arizona bark scorpion venom resistance in the pallid bat, Antrozous pallidus. PloS one,12(8).

Jaquish, V. G. (2019) Agave flower visitation by pallid bats, Antrozous pallidus, in the Big Bend region of Texas. Master’s Thesis, Angelo State University.

Approximate Range