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Largest bat house in the world may save an endangered Florida animal

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South Florida’s expanding population is hurting Florida’s bonneted batsVideo

South Florida’s expanding population is hurting Florida’s bonneted bats

MIAMI –– South Florida’s expanding population is putting a strain on some the area’s first residents -- the bonneted bats.

Called one of the world's rarest bats, the animal is a federally endangered species that is unique to Florida. At night, it feeds on insects. During the day, it sleeps beneath barrel-tile roofs, in live and dead palm trees and pine tree cavities. They are about the size of an iPhone, and are known to fly high and fast.

But Florida's changing landscape has put the bonneted bat population at risk. As new development bulldozed pineland they called home, the number of bonneted bats dwindled.

“They need help too because they're creatures of nature and they have far less habitat with each year that goes by because they keep on cutting trees down left and right,” said Bruce Chesney, founder of the Patch of Heaven Sanctuary.

Bonneted bats are brown in color and the size of an iPhone at rest

Bonneted bats are brown in color and the size of an iPhone at rest (Zoo Miami)

Hubbard said that if their project accomplishes its aim, it may help rewrite the fate of these bats who have lost almost all of their habitat. For now, he said they are patiently waiting for the bats to rent out their space.

“Come home," Hubbard said. "Well, how do you tell a bat to come home, but I guess if you could, that is what we are up to.”