Velvety Free-Tailed Bat (Molossus molossus)
The velvety free-tailed bat, also known as the Pallas mastiff bat, are found throughout Mexico, Central America, and as far south as Argentina. They are also native to the Caribbean and a population is known to reside in the Florida Keys. They roost in hollow trees, rock crevices, palm fronds, and caves throughout hardwood forests. They have also been seen roosting in attics of these regions. They choose their roosts so that they can drop vertically in order to take to flight.
Size and Color
They are known to be reddish-brown to black in color with a velvety fur, as their name describes, and they emit a musky odor. They are around 4 inches long with a wingspan of 11 to 13 inches wide and weigh about 15 grams. They are very similar in appearance to the Mexican free-tailed bat.
Diet and Behavior
These insectivores are a species that is one of the first to become active at dusk and one of the last ones to roost just before dawn. They feed on mosquitoes, beetles, moths, and any other flying insect that they have available to them. They forage in areas above the tree canopy, around the forest edges, and near water sources like streams and ponds.
The females give birth to one pup in the summertime, but it is possible that they can breed more than once a year. They are a colonial species that is most commonly seen roosting in building in the Florida Keys and in more natural settings in other areas of their range. It was discovered residing in Florida in 1994 and is not common outside of the Florida Keys.