Bats in Hawaii

Bats in Hawaii

If it comes as a surprise to you that there are bats in Hawaii, you aren’t alone. I’ve lived here for a long time and had never seen one until recently. Then one evening while walking along Kauai’s Hanalei Bay, I noticed what I thought were birds flying at sunset over the shoreline. Upon closer inspection of their unique flying patterns, I realized that these were no birds. They are Hawaiian Hoary bats.

Hawaiian Hoary Bats

The bats, Hawaii’s only native land mammals, are brown/gray with white tips at their extremities. It’s their unique fur pattern after which they are named. Since 1970, they have been on the US and Hawaii list of endangered species. Damage to their population has probably been the result of deforestation and pesticide use.

Where to find them

Hawaii’s bats typically seek solitude, so you won’t find them flying around in Honolulu. The largest populations are on the Big Island and Kauai, although they can still be seen on all of the islands. Most people I’ve spoken with have rarely, if ever, seen them. As is common with other bats, they are most commonly seen in the early evening, just before dark. At that time they’ll be feeding over streams, bays, or in my recent sighting, along the coast.

Other interesting facts

While relatively little is still known about them, they are believed to roost in trees and live at altitudes varying from sea level to Hawaii’s tallest peaks.

The bats emit various sounds. These include high frequency calls used to detect their insect diet as well as low frequency, humanly audible social sounds. It is believed that some Hawaiian moths can even hear the high pitched sounds and thus avoid becoming part of the bat diet.

Have you seen a Hawaiian Hoary bat?

Subscribe to our email updates.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

More Hawaii Deals

$30 -- Maunalua Bay: Double-Hull Canoe Tour, Reg. $6453% off

$30 — Maunalua Bay: Double-Hull Canoe Tour, Reg. $64

Save more than 50% on a double-hull canoe tour with Hawaiian Surf Adventures, which earns a 100% approval rating …

$34 -- Maunalua Bay: Paddleboard Lesson, Reg. $6951% off

$34 — Maunalua Bay: Paddleboard Lesson, Reg. $69

Perfect your paddleboarding skills with a two-hour lesson from Hawaiian Surf Adventures, which earns a 100% …

$55 -- Go Oahu Card Pass to Top Attractions

$55 — Go Oahu Card Pass to Top Attractions

Get a taste of all Oahu has to offer and save up to 55% on the gate prices to more than 30 of the island’s top …

2 Comments

  1. patrick (2 years ago)

    the hawaiians brought it over to kill the mosquitoes.

  2. D Misajon (4 years ago)

    Why does Hawaii have a native bat?