The Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) is one of Virginia's cave bats and can be found throughout the Eastern United States. This cave bat can bee seen hibernating in large colonies upwards of 20,000 - 50,000 bats. This large colonization is one reason why this bat species are so vulnerable. If a colony is disturbed such as loss of habitat or affected by disease as they were with the White Nose Syndrome in 2006, thousands of bat may die at a time. The Indiana Bat was placed on the federally endangered species list in 1967 from the result of a large number of deaths occurring from people disturbing them during hibernation. Although, they suffered the biggest loss during the White Nose Syndrome, it was estimated in 2009 that there were approximately 387,000 less bats than when they will placed on the endangered species list.
Indiana Bats are a medium sized bats that closely resemble the little brown bat. The difference in the two are their coloration. The Indiana Bat has a dull grayish black chestnut color fur, with its under parts pinkish in color. Other distinguishing factors from the little brown bat is its hind feet are smaller. The Indiana bat is quite small and can weigh 4.5 - 9.5 grams and are 1.2 - 2 inches in length.
Indiana bats are insectivorous, eating a variety of insects including some agricultural pests including moths, flying insects, beetle, midges and mosquitoes. They can eat 50% of their own body weight each Alexandria evening. Making them very important to the environment.
Indiana bats are hibernating bats. They begin to colonize at their hibernacula (caves and mines) in late August to September. Females will begin hibernation shortly after arriving at hibernacula, but males will remain active into late autumn. During which time they will breed with females arriving late. Hibernation for most Indiana bats occur from October through April, although the more northern bats will hibernate from September to May.