Do bats fly south for the winter or hibernate?

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Where bats live is dependent on the availability of food. When the food supply declines, usually due to weather, bats have two options. They can hibernate to pass through the low or non-existent food supply period, or migrate to a place with a more abundant food supply. In some areas, bats will also do a combination of both. Migration involves two parts. Movement from one location when food is scarce and the return to that same location when the abundance of food returns. There is no clear distinction between migrating bats and hibernating bats. Some bat species, like the silver-haired bat, migrate and hibernate. The same is true for red bats. Red bats migrate from the northern portion of their range and hibernate in the southern portion of their range. Most temperate bat colonies start dispersing in late July as young begin flying. In August, most are in the process of migrating. Most North American bats travel less than 483 km to hibernate, with the most common distance traveled is ... more
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