Bats in New Mexico

Little Brown Bat

LITTLE BROWN BAT - Myotis lucifugus

Weight: 7-14 grams.

Wingspan: 22-27 centimeters.

Distribution: Widely distributed from central Alaska to cen­tral Mexico.

Ecology and Behavior: The little brown bat usually hiber­nates in caves and mines. During summer, it often inhabits buildings, usually rather hot attics, where females form nursery colonies of hundreds or even thousands of individuals. Where most males spend the sum­mer is unknown, but they likely are solitary and scattered in a variety of roost types. Colonies usually are close to a lake or stream. This species seems to prefer to forage over water, but also forages among trees in rather open areas. When foraging, it may repeat a set hunting pat­tern around houses or trees.

Food Habits: It eats insects, including gnats, crane flies, beetles, wasps, and moths. Insects usually are captured with a wing tip, immediately transferred into a scoop formed by the forwardly curled tail and interfemoral membrane, and then grasped with the teeth.

Reproduction: Mating occurs in autumn, but also may occur during the hibernation period. One baby is born in May, June, or early July. When the mother is at rest during the day, she keeps the baby beneath a wing. Lifespan may be more than 20 years.

Status of Populations: One of the most common bats throughout much of the northern United States and Canada, but is scarce or only locally common in the southern part of its range.

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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