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University of Florida Bat House
Pictures of the University of Florida Bat House located on Museum Road in Gainesville, FL.

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University of Florida Bat House


This photo album contains images of the Bat House that was erected on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, FL which is part of Alachua County.

The Gainesville Bat House was built in 1991, as an alternative home for the bats that were at the time inhabiting the Scott Linder Tennis and Pearcy Beard Track athletic stadiums.

Various Gator sports teams were obviously unhappy with the guano (bat feces) and urine smell that was emanating from under the bleachers at the stadiums where practices and games were held.

It took almost 5 years for the bats to make the new bat house their permanent home. There are estimated to be over 60,000 bats currently living in the habitat with room for up to 200,000 total creatures.
 

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Student Argicultural Gardens
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The majority of the bats in the Gainesville Bat House are of the Brazilian Free-Tailed species but it's also home to a smaller colony of Southeastern bats. To induce the bats into moving from the stadiums, a small sample of the bats were caught and locked into the new bat house. The smell of these "pioneer" bats' guano droppings attracted other bats to come join the colony. Now each warm Gainesville night when it's at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the bats emerge right after sunset during dusk to feed. The bats will usually feed around Lake Alice or even fly as far as 25 to 30 miles away from the bat house, returning before the sun rises.
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Gainesville Bat House
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Bat House Information Sign

I was amazed when I read the University of Florida Bat House information sign and learned that the bats consume an estimated 600 pounds or 30 to 60 MILLION insects each and every night. The bats eat a variety of insects including moths, beetles, mosquitoes, flies and winged ants. The residents of Gainesville and University of Florida students are truly lucky to have such an effective pest control team working while they sleep.

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I took several pictures of both sides of the Bat House informational sign so that I could read them again later. I learned that bats are wild animals (really? ), could possibly carry rabies and they will bite in self defense.
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Bats Species Info Sign
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Bat Facts
By reading the Bat House sign, you will also be able to learn that bats are mammals and they are not blind like the expression "blind as a bat" might lead you to believe. Bats actually have normal eyesight but at night they use their amazing "echolocation" abilities. To echolocate, the bats send out ultrasonic screeches that echo back and allow the bats to locate objects or insects. There are about 900 species of bats in the world and some of the species that call the Eastern United States home are the Hoary Bat, Gray Bat, Eastern Pipistrelle, Wagner's Mastiff, Townsend's Big Eared Bat, Palla's Mastiff, and the Big Brown Bat.
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Back in the late 90's, the University of Florida Bat House was threatened with plans for relocation to make room for new UF student dormitories. Luckily an environmental group, Alice's Friends, who watch over Lake Alice and the surrounding area, petitioned the university and the bat house would remain where it stands today. If you're ever in Alachua county or the Gainesville area, I highly recommend that you visit the University of Florida Bat House at dusk and be sure to bring a video camera.



 

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