Bats in New Mexico

Mexican Long-tongued Bat MEXICAN LONG-TONGUED BAT - Choeronycteris mexicana

Weight: 10-25 grams

Wingspan: 33-36 centimeters

Distribution: Southwestern United States, most of Mexico and Central America

Ecology and Behavior: A rather large bat with a long, slender nose. This species occupies a variety of vegetative habitats ranging from arid thorn scrub to tropical deciduous forest and mixed oak-conifer forest. It is believed to migrate seasonally to take advantage of suitable sources of food. Buildings and culverts occasionally are occupied, but caves and abandoned mines seem to be favored as daytime roosts; these bats hang in dimly lit areas near the entrances, so even small caves are occupied. In roosts, they do not cluster, but hang 2-5 cm (1-2 in.) apart, usually by only one foot so that they can rotate 360° to detect predators. They are extremely wary, thus easily disturbed, and readily leave the roost, seemingly to prefer to fly out into open daylight rather than to retreat deeper into large shelters. In flight, the wings make a swishing sound similar to that produced by long-nosed bats.

Food Habits: Foods include fruits, pollen, nectar and insects.

Reproduction: One baby is born in June or July, but parturition may be as late as September in Mexico. As with many other bats, the fetus is about 30% of the weight of the mother. Parturition takes place in about 15 minutes. Babies are born in a remarkably advanced state of development and are surprisingly well furred. A mother may carry her rather large baby while she is foraging.

Status of Populations: Rare in the United States

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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