Mexican Free-Tailed Bat


Actual Size: 3.5” long with a wingspan up to 12-14”

Characteristics: These bats are medium size compared to other bats with red to dark brown fur. Their ears are forward-pointing and black and they have wrinkled lips. Their wings are long and narrow and their tails are about ⅓” the size of their bodies.

Habitat: Prefer to roost in caves but are infamous for entering Modesto CA area residences and other buildings.


  • Migrate south during the winter.
  • Diet of moths and other insects.
  • Roost in caves, attics, abandoned buildings, and near water.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bats in Modesto CA

The Mexican free-tailed bat is known for living in large colonies. Some roosts can have populations upwards of millions of bats. As their name suggests, free-tailed bats have tails that extend more than a third of the way beyond their bodies. They are extremely fast flyers–in fact, their horizontal speed is among the fastest of any animal. They have large ears that aid in finding prey through echolocation.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat Habitat

Mexican free-tailed bats usually roost in caves but are infamous for taking up residence in buildings around the Modesto CA area, especially if there are dark recesses in ceilings or walls. Some bats even prefer man-made buildings. Ideally, they congregate near water, which doubles as a source of some of their favorite insects. In the winter, they typically head further south to hibernate.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

They tend to catch their insect prey in flight after dusk as they zoom around at the highest altitudes of all bats. They use echolocation both for navigation and to locate prey. If they choose to roost inside buildings, their presence can be very dangerous for humans simply for the sheer numbers in which they roost. Like other bats, it’s important to never approach or attempt to handle one on your own because they can spread diseases like rabies. If you notice one in your building, never approach it or attempt to handle it yourself. Always call a professional bat exclusion company.