Bats

There are nine species of bats in the Cayman Islands. None are Vampire Bats. Bats constitute our only extant native mammals. Bats are not rodents: the common term “rat bats” is a misnomer.

While many species of bats are distributed widely throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Big Brown bat Eptesicus fuscus minor, is a subspecies endemic to Grand Cayman (Morgan 1994).

Bats found in the Cayman Islands

bigbrownbatBig Brown Bat
Eptesicus fuscus minor is listed as Lower Risk/least concern (IUCN), however, the status of the Cayman Islands’ population is currently unknown. There has been recent evidence of roost desertion on Grand Cayman. Three were observed in a garage roof, indicating that some may utilise artificial structures.


buffybatBuffy Flower Bat
Erophylla sezekorni is listed as Lower Risk/least concern (IUCN), however, the status of the Cayman Islands’ population is currently unknown. It is currently unknown whether E. sezekorni is a genetically distinct population in the Cayman Islands.


antilleannectarAntillean Nectar Bat
Brachyphylla nana nana is listed as Lower Risk/near threatened (IUCN). The status of the Cayman Islands’ population is currently unknown. Furthermore, no roosting sites have ever been located, making protection of critical habitat difficult.


jamaicanfruitJamaican Fruit Bat
Artibeus jamaicensis parvipes is listed as Lower Risk/least concern (IUCN). The population on Grand Cayman will likely recover following Hurricane Ivan, given maintenance of undisturbed roosting areas and foraging sites over the next few years.


BrazilianFreeBrazilian Free-tailed Bat
Tadarida brasiliensis muscala is listed as Lower Risk/near threatened (IUCN). The status of the Cayman Islands’ population is currently unknown, though calls have been documented via Anabat and a D-20 Petterson bat detector (Freeman 1979, Simmons et al 1978). A colony of est. 8,000-30,000 appears to have abandoned the large cave in Old Man Bay. Sixteen were observed in the Salina Cave, pre-hurricane Ivan.


pallasPallas’ Mastiff Bat
Molossus molossus is listed as Lower Risk/least concern (IUCN). Currently there is no critical concern for the status of the local population of M. molossus minor, which is known only from the Cayman Islands and Cuba.


redbatRed Bat
Lasiurus borealis (subspecies unknown) is listed as Lower Risk/least concern (IUCN), however the status of the Cayman Islands’ population is currently unknown. Only three individuals have ever been recorded on Grand Cayman; with singles in the Lower Valley Forest, the Botanic Park and Northward.


waterhouseWaterhouse’s Leaf-nosed Bat
Macrotus waterhousii minor is listed as Lower Risk/least concern (IUCN). The population in Little Cayman currently appears stable, but should be monitored. In Grand Cayman, roosts have been abandoned at Old Man Bay, Spotts Bat Cave, the Agriculture Pavilion Cave, and Pirate’s Cave side tunnel.


whiteshoulderWhite-shouldered Bat
Phyllops falcatus is listed as Lower Risk/near threatened (IUCN), however, the status of the Cayman Islands’ population is currently unknown. This bat has always appeared rare on Grand Cayman (Morgan 1994, Band 2007) and, if still present, likely is threatened due to Hurricane Ivan and anthropogenic destruction of its mature dry forest habitat (Band 2007). More intensive monitoring is needed to assess the possibility of this species having been extirpated on Grand Cayman.

LEGAL STATUS

Pending legislation, bats would be protected under the National Conservation Law (Schedule I). The Department of Environment would be the lead body for legal protection.

Bats in your roof

Bats can gain access to a roof space through the smallest hole or broken soffit, so it is wise to maintain your roof in good order, and undertake repair as soon as possible.

Bats deliver remarkable mosquito and insect control, however, once established in a roof space, bats can cause problems with odors and droppings. The National Trust for the Cayman Islands can offer help and advice on the humane exclusion of bats from roof spaces and also provides information on the construction and placement of bat boxes.

FURTHER INFORMATION

For more information regarding the conservation of Bats in the Cayman Islands, please see the Bat Species Action Plan, part of the National Biodiversity Action Plan for the Cayman Islands.