Colorado is home to thousands of different kinds of wildlife – from the tiniest insects to massive mammals, the Centennial State has all kinds of interesting creatures roaming throughout the region.

Some of these species are seen more than others. For instance, deer, elk, and geese are pretty regular sights, while pika and horned lizards are much less often observed in Colorado.

Another example is bats. Although 18 species of bats are known to live in Colorado, these mini-mammals aren't witnessed quite as often as other animals. Some bats are here year-round, while others only migrate through on their way to somewhere else. Migration patterns are a big reason those specific species aren't seen as frequently.

But even some of the species of bats that live here all year round are barely ever seen.

Such is the case with Colorado's spotted bats.

Spotted bats are the most elusive species of bat in Colorado and are also considered the rarest kind of bat to encounter in the entire country. Not only are they scarce to see, but they are incredibly unique looking.

This species of bat has a striking appearance, with enormous pink ears and three large white spots on the black dorsal surface. Their ears are the largest of any bat species in North America, which makes them easily identifiable if seen in the wild. Weighing around 15 grams, their small size is another reason why they are less frequently seen.

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Spotted bats may be found in the major canyons along the western border of the state and southeastern Colorado. They have also been seen in other states in the western portion of the country, including Arizona, California, and Oregon. Recently, a spotted bat specimen collected from Mesa County, Colorado was donated to CSU's biology teaching collection. The collection was previously lacking this species of bat.

Since spotted bats are so uncommon, they can be hard for wildlife experts to monitor. Therefore, little is known about their reproductive biology, hibernation habits, or annual movement patterns. Details of mortality are also a bit unclear, although known predators do include kestrels and owls.

The primary diet of these tiny creatures consists of moths, but other food items include beetles, katydids, and grasshoppers.

Any sighting of the spotted bat, alive or dead, should be reported to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Uncommon Animals of Colorado

It's pretty rare to see these types of wildlife in Colorado.

Gallery Credit: Kelsey Nistel

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