Bats in New Mexico

Silver-haired Bat SILVER-HAIRED BAT - Lasionycteris noctivagans

Weight: 8-11 grams

Wingspan: 27-31 centimeters

Distribution: Southern Alaska across southern Canada and southward through much of the United States to northeastern Mexico.

Ecology and Behavior:
A typical day roost is under loose tree bark, but these bats have been found in woodpecker holes and bird nests. Although they may appear in any kind of building, they favor open sheds, garages, and out-buildings rather than enclosed attics. During migration, they may be encountered in a variety of other shelters including piles of slabs, railroad ties, lumber, and fenceposts. Silver-haired bats are rather common locally in migration during about a 2-week period in April and May. Autumn migration is spread over a longer period and these bats seem less common. They hibernate in trees, buildings, rock crevices, and similar protected shelters. This species emerges earlier than most, and is easily recognized in flight; it is one of the slowest flying bats in North America. It forages over woodland ponds and streams at heights up to 7 meters (23 feet) and sometimes flies repeatedly over the same circuit during the evening.

Food Habits: Silver-haired bats consume insects including moths, true bugs, flies, mosquitoes, termites and beetles.

Reproduction: Young apparently are raised in the northern tier of states and northward into Canada. Most females apparently give birth to twins in June or early July.

Status of Populations: This bat is relatively uncommon throughout much 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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