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Bat houses

Niabi Zoo is excited to be installing bat boxes around the Zoo to help attract the world's only flying mammal. A few of our volunteers took on the project and we think they look great!

Like to know how to build your own bat house?

Check out the plans here. Page 10 has a signle chambered house or you can make a larger one like the ones at the Zoo on page 11-13.

Why build a bat house?

- Nearly 40% of American bats are in severe decline or are already listed as threatened or endangered.
- Many important agricultural plants, like bananas, peaches, mangos, almonds, dates and figs rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal (and for all you adults out there, there would be no tequila without bats pollinating the agave plant!)
- Bats help control pests, like cucumber and June beetles, stink bugs, rootworms, mosquitos and so many more! A nursing little brown bat mother can eat more than her body weight nightly (up to 4500 insects a night!)

But aren't bats scary?

 - Contrary to popular myths, most bats have very good eyesight, use their excellent echolocation to get around (and not get tangled in people's hair!), and seldom transmit disease to other animals or humans.
- All mammals can contract rabies, but even the less than 1% of bats that do don't bite unless they feel threatened or people are trying to handle them.

We can't imagine a world without bananas and tequila, so it's important to help in anyway we can. Look for the bat boxes here at the Zoo and make or buy a house of your own!

Help us help bats

Know of a bat roost? Report it using the Illinois Bat Conservation Program Roost Form at

Make a donation to support our animals by clicking Adopt an Animal 

If you have more questions about bats give us a call at the Zoo 309-799-3482 ext 222 or email