Bats in New Mexico

Hoary Bat HOARY BAT - Lasiurus cinereus

Weight: 25-30 grams.

Wingspan: 34-41 centimeters.

Distribution: The most widespread hat in the Americas, occurring in most of southern Canada and southward through most of South America. It also occurs in Hawii (where it is the only native land mammal), Iceland, Bermuda, and the Dominican Republic.

Ecology and Behavior: These are large, heavily furred bats. They spend summer days concealed in the foliage of trees, where they choose a leafy site well-covered above, but open from beneath, generally 3-5 meters (10-17 feet) above the ground, and usually at the edge of a clearing. In late summer, they may wander into caves. Because they rerely enter houses, spend the daylight hours well concealed, and generally are rare, these bats seldom are encountered by humans. Northern populations make long seasonal migrations to and from warmer winter habitats. The sexes apparently are segregated throughout most of the summer range; females are uncommon in the western United States at this time. Hoary bats may fly during late afternoon on warm days in winter. Their swift and direct flight and large size make them readily identifiable in most parts of the range.

Food Habits: Moths, true bugs, mosquitos, other insects, and occasionally other bats may be captured as food.

Reproduction: Hoary bats bear two babies in mid-May, June, or early July. The babies cling to the mother through the day, but are left clinging to a twig or leaf while she forages at night.

Status of Populations: Common throughout most of its range in North America.

Thanks to T. L. Best, J. S. Altenbach, and M. J. Harvey for permission to reprint portions of Bats of the Western United States, 1998.

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